The 2018 Farm Bill will focus on a few major issues. 75% of the Farm Bill revolves around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program). The general consensus is that most federal lawmakers and stakeholders want to keep a nutrition title included in the Farm Bill. At one time, there was talk about separating agricultural issues from nutrition programs. However, in order to keep urban stakeholders involved it is generally accepted that it is best for everyone to keep the two intertwined.
The new Farm Bill will include a solid risk management program to help farmers who’ve been financially hit by depressed commodity prices, according to National Association of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO, Chuck Conner.1
“Crop insurance is the number one priority in any Farm Bill,” Gordon Stoner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse. “The long knives are out. EWG (Environmental Working Group) and the Heritage Foundation would tear the entire program down. Not only crop insurance, they are coming after conservation.”2
Sam Willett, National Corn Growers Association, called for unity in agriculture and for farm groups to form coalitions with other groups to gain support for a new Farm Bill. He pointed out that money is tight in Washington and that means agriculture must have strong support to keep our programs funded.4
The cornerstone of the safety net programs is crop insurance. Willett feels there will be good support for crop insurance in the next Farm Bill because the program has proven it works.