Farm Bill Deadline Looms

September 20, 2018

Congressional negotiators have not reached agreement on the 2018 farm bill, despite a looming September 30 expiration date for the current farm law.  Capitol Hill agriculture leaders continued to be divided over proposed new work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by whether to reorganize and consolidate conservation programs and how much to spend on each segment of the farm bill.

As the deadline draws nearer, Congress could consider a short-term extension of the current farm bill.  On the other hand, if September 30 comes and goes with no Congressional action, the major farm support programs and SNAP would continue to operate.  But dozens of smaller programs would temporarily expire, including the Foreign Market Development program, under which non-profit farm organizations promote U.S. agricultural exports.

While negotiators might still reach an agreement during September, a post-election “lame duck” Congressional session is widely anticipated and could be another window to finish the farm bill.