The Farm Bill governs policy in many areas related to the agricultural sector and we are due for a new Farm Bill in 2023. Helping to support farmers at this level is Mike Stranz, the Vice President of Advocacy for the National Farmers Union.
“The 2023 Farm Bill is going to be led by the lead Republican and lead Democrat on both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees,” says Stranz. “In the Senate, the Chairwoman is almost certainly going to be Debbie Stabenow. In the Senate, John Bozeman will be the ranking member. Meanwhile, on the House side, there’s been a little bit of a change with Congressman Glenn GT Thompson being selected as the Chairman for the coming Congress. Lastly, the top Democrat is expected to be David Scott from Georgia.”
While those four will be leading negotiations, there are still plenty of members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees who will play a big role. Two members of the Wisconsin delegation who will play important roles are Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan.
Stranz adds, “For the National Farmers Union, we’ve identified four areas of priority for the upcoming Farm Bill. The four topics are as follows; adding a competition title so that markets can be fair and competitive for farmers, improve the farm safety net for family farmers to make sure there’s resources there to reflect the changing market, growth management for dairy farmers, and conservation and climate”
Some of the things that remain to be seen is if the farm Bill will be split. In the last two Farm Bills there has been an effort to break apart the nutrition programs from the farm programs. Stranz says that politically speaking, doing that is a really bad idea because it helps to have more votes. If you’ve got farm interests without the backing of nutrition group interests, it’s hard to piece together.
There have already been Farm Bill hearings during 2022 however, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Thompson from Pennsylvania, announced that the first field hearing of 2023 will be in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the first week of January. This will be the first time the new members of the Agriculture Committees and Congress are attending.
“The Federal Milk Marketing Order reform is a big part of the Dairy Together Program that Wisconsin Farmers Union members have led for dairy policy reform,” explains Stranz.”There’s going to be some priorities in the next Farm Bill platform that relate to pressing the issue on order reform and also going to be efforts to change the way in which there’s referenda that go on in the dairy pricing and policies world.”
When it comes to cattle market transparency, Stranz says that the last two years have been extremely important and filled with progress.
“When it comes to legislation to bring more transparency and openness into cattle markets, which are becoming increasingly opaque, The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act represents a lot of progress right now. This Act is in its last possible time, where it might be able to be included in legislative packages that pass yet this year. Even if it doesn’t, the next Farm Bill will be a great time to bring some of these ideas up again,” Stranz vocalizes.