The fate of the 2023 farm bill will depend on the two parties agreeing on how to reconcile competing spending for food stamps versus commodity, crop insurance and conservation programs.
Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)von the committee’s roiling fight over USDA’s huge boost in pandemic SNAP spending competing with farm bill farm programs.
Grassley; “We’re not going to have a farm bill, if you don’t have bipartisan agreement.” He added; “If we hadn’t had this pandemic, we would be spending at the February 2020 level, plus population growth, plus inflation, and no more, and that’s a heck of a lot less than the doubling of the food stamp program that CBO said was in the baseline.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the ten-year cost of SNAP at $663 billion, up 82 percent from the 2018 Farm Bill, largely due to USDA’s ability to administratively boost benefits.
Grassley echoes complaints of other Senate Ag Republicans; “The Secretary of Agriculture does not have the ‘power of the purse,’ and that sort of massive spending by one person making that decision, is wrong!”
CBO estimates the entire new farm bill will spend 65 percent more than the ’18 bill but cost $1.5 trillion—the most ever.
Still, crop insurance and commodity program outlays are pegged at just seven percent of farm bill spending, and ARC, PLC, Dairy Margin, livestock and tree programs up just one percent, and conservation down three percent from 2022 levels.