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2023 Farm Bill, if passed, features ‘eye-popping’ price tag


If passed, the 2023 Farm Bill is estimated to be the largest ever, featuring an “eye-popping” price tag of nearly $1.5 trillion, according to Mike Johanns, former USDA Secretary of Ag and alliantgroup Chair of Agriculture.

“This is why the farm bill is under debate,” he said in a recent webinar hosted by the Colorado Livestock Association. “This is an eye-popping figure.”

Johanns said it can be helpful for producers to understand how the farm bill is put together and who authors it.

“It’s a combination of senators and congressmen who write the bill,” he explained. “This year it is Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. John Boozeman. The congressmen are Glenn Thompson and David Scott. Both Stabenow and Scott feel strongly about the SNAP program, formerly known as the food stamp program, and they don’t want to see any cuts to it.”

The food assistance portion of the proposed farm bill currently weighs in at roughly $1.2 trillion. Other programs include $60 billion for conservation, $69 billion for commodity titles, and $19.5 billion for all other spending.

The financial size of the bill is likely to get resistance from the Freedom Caucus, a group of 40 congressmen who were elected on the premise of reducing government spending.

“The nutritional assistance spending will be a target for the Freedom Caucus. They’ll want to see more work requirements for recipients,” Johanns said.

The difference in opinion between the senators and the congressmen is likely to spark much debate, Johanns noted. In the senate, the 2023 Farm Bill needs only to be passed by 60 votes, but in the house, there must be a majority vote.

“What we are likely to see is a combination of the house and the senate version of the bill,” he related.

Johann’s predictions for the make-up of the 2023 Farm Bill include:

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Mike Johanns

Mike Johanns was the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2005-2007 as well as the Governor of Nebraska from 1999-2005 and the state’s U.S. Senator from 2009-2015. As alliantgroup’s Chairman of Agriculture, Johanns brings more than 30 years of experience at virtually every level of government and a strong background in both agriculture and economic development. As the Secretary of Agriculture, he managed 18 different agencies, opened or expanded access to 40 international markets and was responsible for multiple agricultural breakthroughs as a negotiator for the Doha Development Round.