Home 5 Ag Stories Senator Ernst talks about 2023 Farm Bill hearings

Senator Ernst talks about 2023 Farm Bill hearings

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With the elections in the rear-view mirror, it is time to start looking ahead to the business of the next two years. There will be a different look in Congress as the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives. That means new committee leadership as well. Pennsylvania Republican GT Thompson will take over as Leader of the House Ag Committee. This means with a Democratically controlled Senate, there will likely be more debate on the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. This legislation is the largest agricultural and food policy in the United States.

Iowa Republican Senator and Senate Ag Committee member Joni Ernst talked with us at IARN about what is already happening with the meetings to get the Farm Bill moving. Both Committees would like to see it done by the middle of next year. She is also pleased to see Senator Chuck Grassley will be rejoining her on the committee.

Crop insurance and the Ag safety net are always controversial topics, even in years when prices are bad. The issue now is that prices have increased, but input costs have as well and are eating back into the higher margins we enjoyed the last couple of years. Ernst talks about why it is important to keep this safety net in place and why lawmakers need to understand that the need for these programs goes beyond commodity prices.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP) is also a point where lawmakers tend to have disagreements. Former House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) once told me that without the SNAP titles in the bill, there wouldn’t be enough support to handle the legislation needed for Agriculture. Ernst says it is important that we look at these programs, especially as inflation is eating away at the level of donations to Food Banks and the value for each dollar spent to help those less fortunate. Ernst says that we need to see people get the assistance they need, and that the Administration needs to admit that there is an economic issue, instead of continually downplaying the situation.

Farm Bill discussions will continue in earnest after the new Congress is seated in January.