On October 1 of this year, the 2018 Farm Bill officially expired. The implications of the bill's expiration vary across its many programs and titles, with the largest and most long-standing programs - such as SNAP benefits and crop insurance, for example - being largely unaffected in the near term, and some smaller or newer programs at greater risk of lapsing.
Without time to pass a new farm bill before the end of the year, lawmakers are beginning to discuss a one-year extension of the current farm bill. As of this week, top lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are reportedly considering an extension to be included in an upcoming stopgap measure to keep the government funded beyond November 17th.
Some programs - those that have "permanent baseline" - will be automatically included in any farm bill extension. Others, which lack ongoing funding or legal authority beyond September 30, will require special action from Congress to ensure they continue into 2024. Programs at risk of lapsing include many that support beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers.
One key program at risk of lapsing is the National Organic Certification Cost Share program, which reimburses certified organic producers for a portion of their annual certification costs. If Congress doesn’t specifically include this program in a farm bill extension before the end of the year, thousands of organic farmers will face a huge net increase in their annual certification costs and the cost of certification will become a major barrier for smaller-scale producers. You can help by contacting your legislators to ask for an extension of the cost share program
As Congress works to pass an extension of the current farm bill, we encourage you to continue to reach out and let your Senators and Representatives know that you want to see a future farm bill that invests in climate resilience, land access, organic practices, and nutrition security for all.