May 6, 2024

House and Senate Issue Competing Approaches to the 2024 Farm Bill

Holland & Knight Alert
Peter Tabor | Elizabeth Leoty Craddock | Philip Baker-Shenk | Kayla Gebeck Carroll


  • The House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry recently issued their frameworks for the 2024 Farm Bill.
  • The House framework emphasizes enhancements to the farmer safety net, reallocating Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) conservation funds to the conservation title of the Farm Bill, updates to the nutrition title programs, and increasing funding for export promotion.
  • The Senate framework also seeks to improve the safety net while maintaining the 2018 Farm Bill approach to nutrition assistance, introducing a specialty crop insurance subtitle and including support for domestic biofuels and biobased products manufacturing.

The House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry issued their frameworks for the 2024 Farm Bill on May 1, 2024. The House approach emphasizes enhancements to the farmer safety net, reallocates Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) conservation funds to the conservation title of the Farm Bill, includes updates to the nutrition title programs, increases funding for export promotion and seeks to limit states' ability to impose conditions or standards on animal agriculture production. The Senate approach also emphasizes improvements to the farmer safety net, maintains the 2018 Farm Bill approach to nutrition assistance, introduces a specialty crop insurance subtitle and includes support for domestic biofuels and biobased products manufacturing.

The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up Farm Bill text on May 23, 2024, with the text to be released about five days prior. There is no timeline for the Senate, but its release of overview documents, which includes title-by-title proposals, indicates that, though there appears to be agreement on the need to reauthorize the Farm Bill, significant differences remain. Absent a consensus on several key issues in the coming weeks, the 2018 Farm Bill is likely to be extended again into 2025.

House Committee on Agriculture Proposal

The House Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-Pa.), released its 2024 Farm Bill overview early on May 1, 2024. This followed stakeholder briefings the previous week in which committee majority staff laid out their approach and timeline. The Farm Bill overview provides a title-by-title summary of key points – more detailed information is expected in the coming weeks.

The House proposal seeks to:

  • Strengthen the Farmer Safety Net, Principally by Increasing Support Under the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) Programs. References price increases are to be paid for by limits on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary's use of Commodity Credit Corporation funds.
  • Reallocate the $14.4 Billion in IRA Funds Under the Farm Bill Conservation Title, Which Would Make These Programs Permanent (the Funds Expire in 2031 Under the IRA). Democrats have stressed that IRA funds should remain separate from the Farm Bill; this proposal may assuage some of their concerns.
  • Increase Funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, Two Popular USDA Initiatives to Create and Expand U.S. Food and Agriculture Export Opportunities. Members reportedly received more constituent calls for expansion of these programs than for any other Farm Bill provision.
  • Provide Nutrition Assistance Program Access to Those Previously Ineligible to Receive It and Expand Programming for Tribal Communities. Majority staff stress that their proposal will not reduce the numbers of eligible participants and households, but Democrats insist any Republican attempts that effectively limit access to nutrition assistance will doom the reauthorization process.
  • Increase Funding for Specialty Crop Research and Research and Development Related to Mechanization and Automation Technologies for Specialty Crop Farmers. Fruit and vegetable producers stand to make significant gains if a Farm Bill is reauthorized, since there appears to be bipartisan support for programs benefiting specialty crop production.
  • Improve Access to Funds and Markets for Biofuels and Biobased Products. Changes to the BioPreferred Program (9002) and the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (9003) are high priorities for the growing biomanufacturing sector.
  • Ensure the USDA and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Negotiate Animal Disease Regionalization Agreements with Key Trading Partners. U.S. animal agriculture, and pork producers in particular, rely heavily on exports and will benefit from successful negotiations to limit market closures resulting from a foreign animal disease detection.
  • Limit States' Ability to Impose Conditions or Standards on the Production of Livestock Outside Their State. This is a response to California's Proposition 12 and Massachusetts' Question 3, which have roiled pork, veal and egg markets.
  • Support Tribal Self-Determination by Making the 638 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) Pilot Program Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill Permanent, Including a Technical Fix to Provide Parity for Tribal Governments for the Good Neighbor Authority. The proposal protects important 638 authorities enshrined in the 2018 Farm Bill and provides technical fixes to Good Neighbor Authority.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Proposal

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), released its Farm Bill proposal around midmorning on May 1, 2024, titled The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act. Like the House proposal, the Senate proposal stresses investments to strengthen the farmer safety net. It also prioritizes expanding nutrition assistance and making rural healthcare more affordable and accessible.

The Senate overview is accompanied by separate title-by-title summaries and includes many bipartisan bills put forth during this Congress. Chair Stabenow seeks to draw parallels between this Farm Bill proposal, the 2018 Farm Bill and recently enacted legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), IRA and American Rescue Plan.

The Senate's proposal seeks to:

  • Maintain Continuity of the Approach in the 2018 Farm Bill to the Thrifty Food Plan, the Model Used to Calculate Nutrition Assistance Levels. Participation in and items eligible for inclusion in nutrition title assistance programs are points of contention between Republicans and Democrats.
  • Fold IRA Conservation Funds into the Farm Bill's Conservation Title. This is a key area of potential agreement. Democrats may support making these popular programs permanent (IRA funding expires in 2031) and having these IRA programs count towards the Farm Bill budget baseline could garner Republican support.
  • Increase by at Least 5 Percent Commodity Crop Reference Prices During the 2024 Farm Bill Period, Which Trigger Payments Under the PLC and ARC Programs. Here again, there appears to be an opportunity for bipartisan agreement on the need to increase these reference prices.
  • Permanently Fund Scholarships at 1890s Institutions and Maintain Commitments to 1994 Tribal Colleges and Minority Institutions. Tribal communities stand to make significant gains in this Farm Bill, if passed.
  • Prioritize Specialty Crops by Including a Specialty Crop Insurance Subtitle (A First) and Devoting Resources to Development of Technologies That Will Improve Efficiencies and Address Labor Constraints. This is also potential common ground for Republicans and Democrats.
  • Increase Funding for Export Promotion Programs. Note that neither MAP nor FMD is mentioned, so while there is general agreement on the need to boost export promotion programs, House and Senate approaches differ.
  • Increase Funding for Programs to Detect, Respond to and Recover from Animal Diseases, Including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Given animal agriculture's reliance on exports and recent detections of HPAI virus particles in milk and meat (resulting from cattle being infected with the virus), these are timely proposal that could garner bipartisan support.
  • Expand Options for Livestock Processing and Ensure Fair Marketplace Competition. This proposal could be seen as complementing recent (and controversial) Biden Administration efforts to seek greater authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Promote Domestic Biofuels (Including Sustainable Aviation Fuel) and Biobased Products Manufacturing. Though this effort has bipartisan support, the forms of funding available will determine the true impacts of any program updates.
  • Make Permanent the 638 FDPIR and Tribal Forest Protection Act (TFPA) Pilots Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, Expand 638 Authority to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Strengthen the USDA's Capacity for Negotiating 638 Self-Determination Contracts, Make Tribal Governments Eligible for an Array of Grant Programs, and Support Critical Broadband and Water Infrastructure. The proposal, which includes 52 wins for Indian Country, protects important 638 authorities enshrined in the 2018 Farm Bill and promote parity with state and local governments.


Food and agriculture clients should note that, though significant differences of opinion remain between Republican (House) and Democratic (Senate) approaches to Farm Bill reauthorization, the coming weeks could lay the groundwork for a 2024 Farm Bill during the lame duck session of Congress. Alternatively, any Farm Bill text that is not agreed to during this Congress will likely serve as the basis for reauthorization by the 119th Congress beginning in early 2025.

We urge clients with an interest in specific Farm Bill provisions or programs to contact Holland & Knight to determine the likely path forward in this or the next Congress.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.

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