President Joe Biden signed a short-term funding package on Thursday that includes a one-year farm bill extension.
The law, which averts a partial government shutdown, gives agricultural negotiators until Sept. 30, 2024, to pass a farm bill. Congressional leaders and farm groups have said an extension was necessary to provide certainty to farmers and prevent a reversion back to Depression-era law for major agriculture support programs.
“Growers are already making decisions for the 2024 crop year based on markets, growing conditions and risk calculations,” said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “This extension provides us with much needed certainty around the commodity title and other important USDA programs. But we continue to advocate for a full reauthorization of the farm bill as soon as possible.”
The stopgap funding package also supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Jan. 19, setting up the potential for a contentious fight for funding in the new year. USDA financing has become mired by calls for deep cuts and policy riders on abortion access and other nonstarters for Democrats.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democratic leader and one of the top farm bill negotiators, was relieved the stopgap funding package included a farm bill extension "so there is not a lapse in funding for critical agriculture programs," she said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"But short-term bills like this are no way to run the government," she added. "We have crucial needs in this country and abroad, and we need a budget that addresses them."
Agriculture groups say while an extension is welcome, lawmakers need to use this momentum to pass a farm bill sooner rather than later. The American Farm Bureau Federation said lawmakers are "running out of time" to write a new bill.
"We need a new farm bill in early 2024," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.