We don’t have a new farm bill yet, but steps taken this week ensure programs important to dairy producers will continue for the time being. Over the weekend, the House and Senate ag committees reached an agreement on a one-year extension of the current farm bill through the 2024 calendar year.

On Tuesday, the House passed the extension as part of a larger bill they moved forward to fund the government into next year, explained Paul Bleiberg of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) during the NMPF and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Joint Annual Meeting that took place this week in Orlando, Fla.

Bleiberg, who serves as the executive vice president of government relations for NMPF, said on Tuesday he expected the Senate to act by the end of the week, and late Wednesday night, a stopgap spending bill was passed by that chamber of Congress. This averted the government shutdown that would have gone into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning.

Although the farm bill lapsed on September 30, Bleiberg explained that was on paper only, as the real deadline for programs within the farm bill is the end of the calendar year. With the extension passed by Congress and awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature, the 2018 Farm Bill will remain in effect until September 30, 2024. He said the extension carries over programs such as Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for another year, along with the production history update made by the supplemental DMC program, and it puts off the dairy cliff for a year.

“There’s always some degree of concern that an extension might stop the momentum for doing a bill, but I don’t think that’s likely in this case,” Bleiberg said, noting that both Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, heads of their chambers’ respective agriculture committees, are motivated to get a new farm bill in place.

Although the House speaker and government funding discussions slowed the process considerably, Bleiberg expects that the House will vote on a new farm bill in the first quarter of next year and the Senate will follow suit.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
November 16, 2023
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