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Legislative Watch: SNAP to increase by 8.4%; 2022 record ag exports; don't cut crop insurance; Torres Small nominated; More D's named to House Ag.
February 17, 2023
The Congressional Budget Office released its farm bill baseline funding estimates on Wednesday. The CBO's baseline estimates the cost of the current farm bill for the next 10 years. The baseline sets the parameters for what Congress will be able to spend on the new farm bill unless other funding sources can be found, which is unlikely.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the largest program in the farm bill with an estimated cost of approximately $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. CBO estimates SNAP will increase by 8.4% compared to last year's estimate. CBO assumes USDA will increase benefits by updating the Thrifty Food Plan.
A House Agriculture Committee analysis of CBO's estimates indicates commodity program support is expected to decline by 12%; conservation program spending will increase by 19%; and crop insurance will increase by 26%.
Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "The total for all non-nutrition-related programs is approximately $225 billion. The 2021, 2026 and 2031 updates to the Thrifty Food Plan alone, will cost more than all the spending outside the nutrition title. This is unsustainable and must be thoroughly debated as Congress considers the next farm bill."
2022 set a record for ag exports
U.S. agricultural exports in 2022 set a record of $196 billion. This is an increase of $19.5 billion (11%) over the record set in 2021.
There were 30 export markets where U.S. exports exceeded $1 billion in 2022. This compares to 27 markets in 2021.
The value of exports increased in all of the United States' top 10 agricultural export markets – China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, European Union, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Colombia and Vietnam. Records were set in seven of the 10 markets – China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Colombia.
The top commodities exported were soybeans, corn, beef, dairy, cotton and tree nuts which represent over half of U.S. agricultural exports by value. Record value levels of exports were reached by soybeans, cotton, dairy, beef, ethanol, poultry, soybean meal, distilled spirits and distillers' grains.
In 2022, U.S. pork exports dropped 5% by value and 9% by volume compared to 2021. However, 2022 pork exports were still the third highest on record.
Don't cut crop insurance
As Congress prepares for consideration of this year's farm bill, a broad coalition of agriculture, finance, insurance and environmental groups are calling on the Congress to protect crop insurance from "harmful cuts."
In a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Budget Committees, the groups said, "The last several years have brought an onslaught of uncertainty for America's farmers and ranchers – from weather extremes to the disruption of international markets to COVID-19 and all of its unique challenges. During this tumultuous time, one of the few certainties that farmers could rely on was the protection provided by the Federal crop insurance policy purchased with their hard-earned dollars.
"Even in good years, farmers need access to a strong and secure federal crop insurance program, a program that farmers have described time and again as a critical linchpin of the farm safety net. The strength and predictability of the program is only more critical given uncertainty that characterizes the production agriculture sector."
Those signing the letter included the American Association of Crop Insurers, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Farm Credit Council, Independent Community Bankers of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Peanut Federation and USA Rice.
Torres Small to be nominated Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
President Biden announced he plans to nominate Xochiti Torres Small as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Torres Small is currently serving as USDA's Under Secretary for Rural Development. Previously she served in the House of Representatives representing New Mexico's second district. Torres Small was a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
More D's named to House Ag
The House Democrats announced their final four members assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. They are Representatives Salud Carbajal (CA), Angie Craig (MN), Chellie Pingree (ME) and Darren Soto (FL).
Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.
Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.
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