The farm bill, which funds nutrition and ag programs, expired. Now what happens?

Posted at 7:24 PM, Oct 10, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The farm bill expired on Sept. 30 and, while most aspects of the bill have funding for at least until November, the bill affects a much larger segment of the American population than some might realize.

Technically, it reverts to the original, 1930s version of the bill when it expires.

"If you think about how people are served through nutrition programs today, that's important,” said President of the Iowa Farm Bureau and Calhoun County farmer Brent Johnson. “When you think about all the work that farmers are doing in conservation and sustainability programs — those are in modern farm bills, not in older farm bills, so we really need to make sure that we don't let this lapse too far.”

Johnson says he believes the bill should be called the "food and farm bill" because it funds school nutrition programs as well as food for families with low incomes. It tends to have bipartisan support, but he's not without concerns when it comes to passing a new bill.

"Just about half of Congress … has never negotiated a farm bill before, so this only comes around once every five years. And actually, when it comes to Iowa, all four of our house members – none of them have ever negotiated a farm bill," he said.

Last week Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon told 3 News Now that the farm bill had expired before, for instance, when he first entered the house.

"We will get this done because right now, it's a bill that doesn't have a lot of critics, the most controversial stuff's already been negotiated on. So I feel like, we'll get it done," said Bacon.

The bill helps producers, but not always in the way people assume. Yes, there are subsidies that can protect prices, but more importantly, Johnson says the bill provides stability when farmers face weather or geopolitical events out of their control.

"Agriculture doesn't shut down, the calendar doesn't stop, the production year doesn't stop so we really need that piece to get moved forward."

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