So what is at issue? Zulauf says is the vote that will soon be coming on a Farm Bill that will likely not have any nutrition title, and will be 20 percent of the cost of the last Farm Bill due to elimination of food and nutrition programs. If an urban member of Congress sees a threat to his constituents, he or she may be unwilling to support a farm policy that is disconnected to food stamps and other nutrition programs. Zulauf says, “Lower spending on the farm safety net will make it difficult to reach agreement because each farm actor wants to protect their part of the farm safety net. It would be easier to craft a new farm bill if projected baseline spending in the future was higher, but that means farm income would have to decline. Higher government spending on the farm safety net as a result of lower farm income may not be a desirable situation for the U.S. farm sector.”
The pending re-introduction of the Farm Bill will likely be similar to the legislation that failed on June 20th, but without the nutrition title and $80 billion per year in spending on food and nutrition programs. Splitting the farm and food policy will put farm policy at risk of not being approved, since urban members of Congress would see no reason to support it, and see that farm incomes are currently above that of median household income.
Source: FarmGate blog