What's the deal with the Farm Bill and NAFTA?

National Farmers Union
NFU urges legislators to finish the job in passing the Farm Bill.

Nearly 60 days after the 2014 Farm Bill expired without a replacement or extension, Congressional leadership came to an agreement in principle on the 2018 version of the legislation. Though a vote was initially expected this week, it has been pushed back due to George H.W. Bush's funeral. 

Few details about the negotiation have emerged so far, besides the conference committee's rejection of the House's controversial work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Additionally, the bill reportedly does not include Senator Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) proposal to strengthen payment limitations for Title I programs. 

Should the farm bill drag into the new year, the entire process would start anew. Each chamber would again need to pass its own version of the legislation, and the differences between the two would ultimately be reconciled by a new conference committee. The final bill would then need to be approved by a Congressional vote and signed by President Trump.

The expiration of the farm bill was poorly timed. Family farmers and ranchers are already coping with depressed prices and trade volatility, and the absence of a farm bill has exacerbated matters with additional uncertainty.

Roger Johnson

"Farmers are enduring a growing financial crisis in the farm economy, and programs that support farm sustainability and diverse markets for family farmers have expired," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "Getting a farm bill through the finish line before the end of the year is critical for the long-term viability and sustainability of family farmers and ranchers across the country."