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The Farm Bill Takes its First Step Forward…For Good or for Bad

Early morning on Friday, May 24th, the House Agriculture Committee finished marking up H.R. 8467, the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. After more than 13 hours of debate, the bill was reported out of committee on a vote of 33-21 with four Democrats joining the Republican majority. We will talk about the likelihood of getting a Farm Bill passed this year shortly, but first, let’s cover some background information.

Firstly, what is a markup?

Think of a markup like a draft Farm Bill that the Agriculture Committee moves forward for consideration. Five days before the scheduled markup, Ag Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) released the 942-page text to be considered during the markup. RMFU staff pored over the text comparing it to our policy and engaged directly with our two representatives on the House Ag Committee, (Rep. Caraveo (D-CO) and Rep. Vasquez (D-NM), prior to and during the markup.

The Senate’s vision for the Farm Bill was released in early May. The House bill can be compared to the Senate framework, a 94-page outline, that they are calling the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act of 2024.

RMFU’s Current Position

RMFU made the following statement on May 24th:

‘Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a markup for the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is disappointed that this legislation is making harmful cuts to important programs that farmers, ranchers, and our communities depend on. It will remove $30 Billion from nutrition funding, gut programs designed to support producers to adapt to increasingly erratic weather, and drive policies that will further lessen competition throughout the food value chain. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is opposed to the current legislation as written, and we will advocate for strong amendments when it comes to a vote in the House. We will continue to work with our members of Congress and our partners to ensure that this Farm Bill provides the greatest benefits possible to our farmers, ranchers, and communities that we represent.’

So, what is in the bill? The good, bad, and ugly. And what is missing? (abridged)

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

There are a few provisions within H.R. 8467 that are clearly in conflict with RMFU policy. For these reasons, RMFU took an ‘oppose’ position at this time.

 

What is missing?

All eyes on the Senate

There is a very low chance that the House bill will pass the chamber. In fact, many people believe that it won’t even come up for a vote. This puts more pressure on the Senate to pass a bipartisan, balanced bill. Unfortunately, there is very little time in the Senate calendar this summer making it likely that another extension will be necessary after the September 30th deadline. At best, we will probably see the Farm Bill come to fruition after the election and before the inauguration. RMFU will continue to advocate for the priorities that you have set in our policy, and we hope to see the right Farm Bill pass as soon as possible.

Call to Action

Please consider joining us for the Annual Legislative Fly-In in Washington D.C. September 9-11. This will be an important opportunity to advocate for our priorities and connect with our legislators on these vital issues. If you are interested or want to learn more, reach out to RMFU Director of Government Relations, Tyler Garrett at tyler.garrett@rmfu.org.

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