The Likelihood Of A Farm Bill During Lame Duck Session

A graphic of the farm bill.
( Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc. )

During the 2018 American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers annual meeting two D.C. analysts gave an update on activity from the capital. One highlight was what will happen in the lame duck session of Congress, and will the Farm Bill get its time?

Farm Journal policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer gives a 80% chance the Farm Bill will be passed before the new congress is installed in 2019.

“If congress after the election doesn’t pass a farm bill in lame duck, they are worse off than I think they are,” Wiesemeyer says. “I’m well over 80% odds that will happen.”

He says the Farm Bill is in the top three prioritis left for this congress to do:

  • Funding the government past Dec. 7
  • Pending appointments
  • Farm Bill

However, Stephen Frerichs with AgVantage LLC says he’s not as optimistic as Wiesemeyer.

“What’s working against this congress is the clock,” Frerich says. “The House and Senate are back in session on Nov. 13, and that week is largely the potential new leaders scrambling around to get speaker and minority leadership positions.”

While the four principals of the Farm Bill may be busy working on it, there are only eight legislative days in November, and the house is currently scheduled to only have eight legislative days in December.

“I think once Congress funds the rest of the government, they’re done. They aren’t going to stick around for the Farm Bill,” Frerichs says.

Both analysts agree there is major committee work to be done reconciling the house and senate versions.