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Priorities for the New Farm Bill

As Congress prepares for the next Farm Bill, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) shared their 2023 Farm Bill priorities. The Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) expresses appreciation for the national wheat priorities and the active engagement throughout the process to establish priorities that reflect our needs and provide an opportunity for advocacy with our Members of Congress.

The priorities include:

  • Protecting crop insurance, to ensure growers have a strong and reliable safety net that provides assistance to wheat growers when needed in times of disaster.
  • Supporting the financial and technical assistance provided through voluntary conservation programs.
  • Increasing the reference price for wheat in Title I to cover the cost of production more accurately.
  • Enhancing USDA’s market access and development programs to enhance trade.
Continued funding for these programs in the upcoming Farm Bill is critical to maintaining the production of vital food crops, the productivity of our farmlands, and the continued flow of jobs, investment and tax revenues from our operations and supply chains.

“From risk protection through crop insurance to enhancing market access, the Farm Bill provides essential support to wheat producers in Oregon,” stated Oregon Wheat Growers League President Ben Maney. “We are looking forward to working with our legislators on these priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill."

Who’s Who on Committees?

Members of Congress on the ag committees hold primary responsibility for drafting the Farm Bill.

Senate Ag Committee Members:

House Ag Committee Members:

Farm Bill Process

Every five years we face expiration of the current Farm Bill and development of a new one. The current farm bill was enacted into law in December 2018 and therefore expires in 2023. Development of a new bill has wide ranging impacts: from trade program funds supporting US Wheat activities on market expansion to crop insurance support to conservation programs. It is a key safety net for producers, which becomes extremely apparent in years like 2021.

Since the first Farm Bill was passed in 1933 with commodities programs to allow producers to stay afloat through challenging years, it has been expanded to the current 2018 Farm Bill which has twelve separate titles. As the process for Farm Bill reauthorization negotiations begins, the League has several engagements steps along the way to ensure the Bill continues to retain key tools for Oregon wheat producers and improve upon current programs for ag.

Step 1: League Resolutions (Policies and Priorities). Our top priority of protecting the federal crop insurance program is followed closely by preserving the safety net provided by the commodity title of the Farm Bill. Within that title we will be seeking to increase the statutory reference price for wheat, reflective of the increased cost of production. We are requesting continued investment in USDA Foreign Market Development programs and Market Access Programs to expand our trade relationships in emerging markets. This bill will surely have a strong focus on ‘climate smart ag’ in a variety of forms. As we look at the conservation title, we seek improvements that work for the Pacific NW, understanding the geographic and preferential differences in farming practices unique to our environments.

Step 2: Presenting Oregon Wheat priorities to the legislative delegation. While in Washington DC for the annual January Hill visits, the League meets with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senators. We articulate our membership priorities, with a succinct one-page outline describing the impact of Farm Bill programs, necessity for retaining tools and the requested asks for 2023.

Step 3: Grassroots advocacy. The process typically begins with public outreach including hearings/listening sessions where members of Congress take input from the public on what is important for the new bill. Following initial outreach, the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry develop and vote on separate bills which often have substantial differences. Each committee bill then goes to its respective full House of Representatives or Senate where it is debated, amended, and voted on. After both the full House and Senate have passed their own bills, the bills move over to a conference committee which combines them into one compromise package. This compromise bill is then sent back to the House and Senate floors to be debated and passed. Once the House and Senate approve a final farm bill, the bill goes to the President, who can veto, sending it back to Congress, or sign it into law.

As we move forward through the year, watch for opportunities in listening sessions. Reach out to your legislators to talk about your experiences and utilize the League resources/ one-pagers to amplify our collective asks for the next Farm Bill.

Reference to the Farm Bill Titles

Title I: Commodities: Dates back to the first farm bill. Includes ARC and PLC.

Title II: First included in the 1985 Farm Bill and includes programs such as CRP, EQIP and CSP.

Title III: Trade: Supports international food aid programs, promotes U.S. exports, and helps oversee adherence to World Trade Organization agreements.

Title IV: Nutrition. Includes nutrition assistance, with the main item being the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Title V: Credit: FSA loans and guaranteed loans.

Title VI: Rural Development

Title VII: Research, Extension and Related Matters

Title VIII: Forestry

Title IX: Energy

Title X: Horticulture

Title XI: Crop Insurance: First authorized in 1938 to assist producers with financial loss that results from natural disasters.

Title XII: Miscellaneous

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