Congress allows farm bill to expire; strands programs without funding

Release Date: 

10/01/2018

Contact(s): 

Anna Johnson, policy manager, annaj@cfra.org, 515.215.1294; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, rheal@cfra.org, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

LYONS, NEBRASKA – Congress allowed the 2014 farm bill to expire yesterday, Sept. 30, and took no action to renew or extend it. In response, Anna Johnson, policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs, said the organization is disappointed that today, Oct. 1, 2018, has come without the passage of a new farm bill or an extension of the previous farm bill.

“When funding for farm bill programs is tight, every available program dollar delivers value to rural America,” Johnson said. “Congress is irresponsible to leave more than a billion dollars for demonstrably effective programs on the table without passing a farm bill extension, as they continue to debate a final bill.”

Programs stranded with funding but no authority to operate include the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. In addition, other programs that invest in rural economies have lost their funding, including the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, and several others.

“Congress is allowing programs that serve our beginning farmers and rural communities to fall by the wayside in a reckless manner,” Johnson said. “Allowing a farm bill to expire and stranding this many programs is a careless action and leaves many farmers and ranchers behind.”

She said Congress failed rural America when they chose not to pass a farm bill or farm bill extension. Johnson and the Center for Rural Affairs urge Congress to pass a farm bill extension quickly to fund these programs.

“Put politics aside, come to the negotiating table, and pass legislation that serves rural America,” she said.