The previous farm bill was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, but extended by federal lawmakers one additional year through Sept. 30, 2024. However, one expert says there is hope that a new farm bill can still be passed early this year.

Brian Kuehl is Director of Government and Public Affairs with Pinion, an ag business consulting and accounting firm. He, like many others, had wanted to see a farm bill passed in 2023.

“Congress did not get that done, in part because they were distracted by other things: government shutdown, overall government funding, the war in Ukraine, the war in Israel and the Gaza Strip,” he said. “So, we’re hopeful that Congress will come back and pass the farm bill early in 2024 and I think there’s certainly is bipartisan support for doing that.”

Though he said 2023 saw increases in partisanship and politics in ag funding issues, there were some things that gave Kuehl hope.

“Congress traditionally has worked in a bipartisan fashion on agriculture appropriations. This year, we saw the House of Representatives bring an ag bill, a USDA bill, to the floor that had such dramatic cuts to USDA and the farm programs that it failed. They couldn’t get the votes within the Republican caucus to support that bill,” he explained. “So, a coalition of Democrats and farm state Republicans took that bill down and said ‘no, those cuts are too draconian’. Once again, we’re hopeful that in 2024 we’ll see the parties work together to really support U.S. agriculture.”

He said legislation as important as the farm bill is a good reason for everyone to work together.

“There’s a critical mass of Democrats and Republicans who understand the farm bill is important both for farmers and for food programs,” he continued, “for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs, for people in inner cities and frankly, throughout rural America depend on food assistance.”