Optimism about Farm Bill Despite Challenges Ahead

The Congressional clock is ticking as the ag industry watches to see if a new Farm Bill is doable this session.

Tyson Redpath, Principal at the Russell Group, says the Farm Bill is a resilient piece of legislation that isn’t cheap, but has overcome many hurdles in recent years, including the pandemic.

“Guess what, the Farm Bill withstood that incredible challenge, maybe the greatest challenge in certainly 100 years, and it came through that. So, we have to remember, yes, it’s $1.5 Trillion. Nobody is hiding from that.” 

Especially when you consider, Redpath says our national debt of $34.5 trillion.

“That is complicated. We have to get real about debt. In fact, we’re coming off of an inflationary period largely driven by an era of non-stop stimulus, even before COVID, right. Just, there’s a problem, we’re going to pass stimulus spending. We can’t do that anymore. We can’t afford it.” 

However, he believes Congress will pass a Farm Bill.

“It will. I still remain optimistic we’ll get a Farm Bill, you know, because it is so important to so many folks. It touches so many Congressional districts. All 100 U.S. Senators have agriculture in their state. You know, over 90 percent, I believe it’s 92 percent of program acres, so those commodity programs that comprise the safety net of American agriculture, 92 percent of those acres are in Republican districts.” 

But, Redpath says when push comes to shove for a new Farm Bill…

“There is a realization that bipartisanship has to prevail and that doing a Farm Bill, you know, I think is among the very best within us to make sure the less fortunate are able to get a meal and to make sure that those who produce that meal know that the federal government is their backstop.” 

Redpath says the left-right coalition that put together the modern Farm Bill, going back to 1985 and beyond, is what he hopes is resuscitated this year.