More money needed for a new farm bill

An extension ag economist says Congress will need to find more money if a new farm bill is going to pass by the end of the calendar year.

Texas A&M University’s Ag and Food Policy Center co-director Joe Outlaw says the big ask from commodity groups is a boost in reference prices. The Congressional Budget Office is estimating the cost at $20 billion and he says while expensive, lawmakers have found ways to get more money in previous farm bills.

“This is my eighth farm bill and over time, I’ve seen lawmakers able to get funding. In 2002, President Bush worked it out when they were granted about $70 billion extra to do that bill. In 2008, there was about $10 billion given for a specific project.”

He says trimming the nutrition program will not get bipartisan support, but reallocating conservation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act could be an option.

“All of this will be a fight, because everyone has reasons why things were done, but I think it’s more likely things will happen with the Inflation Reduction Act funding.”

Outlaw says it’s possible Congress could take a completely different approach, but if additional money is not found, an extension of the last farm bill is likely.

Brownfield interviewed Outlaw at the Abner Womack Ag Outlook Conference.

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