Alabama Extension economist offers Things to Know about the Farm Bill

Published: December 04, 2018
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Max Runge, an Extension economist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University’s College of Agriculture, offers Things to Know about the Farm Bill. He is the leader of Alabama Extension’s Farm and Agribusiness Management.

Things to Know About the Farm Bill

  • Farm Bill legislation is supposed to be passed every 5 years. It sometimes is extended. The last Farm Bill passed in February 2014. The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation that provides funding for many different programs.

  • The 2014 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30, 2018. If a new Farm Bill deal is not reached by the end of December, an extension would have to be approved. Every indication out of Washington is that a new farm bill is very close to being finalized.

  • The Farm Bill includes much more than programs for farmers. In fact, about 80 percent of the Farm Bill funding is allocated to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is used by more than 46 million Americans.

  • Other programs that are funded by the Farm Bill include but are not limited to: research and extension grants, rural development programs, foreign trade development programs as well as conservation program and forestry programs.

  • Funding for the Farm Bill has to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and an increase in one program has to be taken from another program in the Farm Bill.

  • U.S. 2018 farm income is expected to be half of what it was five years ago. A new farm bill is important not only for Alabama producers and agribusinesses but across the U.S. as it provides guidelines for safety net for the next five years.

  • Most farmers have to get a production loan every year to plant their crops. The Farm Bill provides much needed stability so lenders can work with farmers and offer credit to them.

  • Agriculture is a key part of the U.S. economy. The Farm Bill provides crucial help to farmers and helps ensure a safe, economical food supply.

Interviews:

To arrange an interview with Max Runge, please contact:

  • Preston Sparks, Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing, 334-844-9999 (sparks@auburn.edu), or

  • Maggie Lawrence, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 334-844-5687 (lawremc@auburn.edu)