Farm Bill Fault Lines: Why is the Farm Bill Debate Stuck in Neutral?

As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.  We present to you Figure 1.

Figure 1: Farm Safety Net and SNAP Spending, 1962 to 2026F

Source:  OMB Table 11.3 – Outlays for Payments for Individuals by Category and Major Program: 1940 – 2028 and Table 3.2 – Outlays by Function and Subfunction: 1962 – 2028.
Note:  spending for budget subfunction 351 (farm income stabilization) is used as a proxy for farm safety net spending.

Any serious student of farm policy is taught very early on that nutrition policy and farm policy go hand in hand…and that you can’t get a farm bill done that doesn’t include both.  Why?  The argument goes like this: there are not enough rural votes to pass a farm bill, and including nutrition brings along urban votes that otherwise would not vote for a farm bill. Figure 1 paints an interesting picture of how this relationship has changed over time. Following are our observations. [READ MORE]


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