Farm Progress

Governors Association weighs in on farm bill

Letter to ag leaders spells out farm bill priorities

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

September 7, 2023

2 Min Read
U.S. capitol building at night
Getty Images

The National Governors Association is the latest group to send Congress their farm bill wish list. On Tuesday, NGA Education, Workforce and Community Investment Taskforce co-chairs Brad Little, R-Idaho, and Albert Bryan, D- U.S. Virgin Islands, penned an open letter to Agriculture Committee leaders in the House and Senate. They say their priorities highlight the important role farm bill programs play in strengthening communities. That’s why they believe those programs should be updated through the farm bill in a timely manner.

“The next iteration of the farm bill is an opportunity for Congress to reinforce its support for the states, territories and communities we represent, specifically rural and urban communities, farmers, ranchers, and those in need of food assistance,” the governors say. “Doing so will further bolster the more than 23 million jobs supported by the U.S. food and agriculture sector, which provide nearly $1 trillion in wages annually to American households.”

According to the governors, much has changed in the agricultural markets and the overall economy since the farm bill was last reauthorized in 2018. Inflation has made it harder for producers to maintain product coverage while keeping their goods at an affordable and competitive price.  It has also diminished the buying power of consumers and those receiving good assistance. At the same time, global markets have changed, and agriculture employers face workforce shortages and challenges. This will only be exacerbated as more farmers and ranchers retire in the coming years.

“These are but a few of the many changes impacting American food and agriculture since 2018,” the governors say. “A new farm bill should reflect these new realities.”

As for the policy specifics, the governors laid out their positions on multiple topics including commodities, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, crop insurance and more. They continue to support Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage programs, with reference price adjustments to reflect changes in crop process. They also support disaster assistance programs that provide more certainty and modification to the Dairy Margin Coverage Program.

The letter calls for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding to be maintained, and benefits expanded to all 55 states and territories the AGA represents. It also pushes for greater administrative flexibility, and a more streamlined process.

To further conservation efforts, the governors support greater autonomy for state conservation entities. They also want more funding for conservation programs, technical assistance, and efforts to combat invasive species. 

Read more about:

Farm Bill

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like