The Farm Bill passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture — so what? This is great news and is a very important, necessary step toward a finalized Farm Bill; but it’s only the opening kickoff. The green flag. The ball has just been tipped. The puck just dropped. Whatever your sports analogy preference, you get the idea.

We want to save you the 13 hours of watching the House Committee on Agriculture livestream. Opening statements alone took 5 hours. But when you think about how huge this piece of legislation is and how many topics it covers, it’s no surprise that everyone had a lot to say.

Coming out of committee, the Farm Bill has some really fantastic points, and has some areas that we would like to see be more favorable to corn farmers.

Here’s what we were happy with:

  • MAP/FMD funding is increased. This helps keep export demand high with market access programs (MAP) and foreign market development (FMD). About 1/3 of Ohio’s corn goes to exports.
  • Part of the Farm To Fly Act was incorporated promoting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) guidelines that prioritize corn ethanol as a top feedstock for petroleum-based jet fuel.

We do have some notes:

  • Raise PLC reference prices (great), but give the lowest raise to corn (not great) with a floor price on base acres (doubly not great). Corn is the #1 crop in America, but corn is the only commodity that has to pay for its own reference price increase with a floor price. It’s a good question to ask your federal legislators when you see them at your county fair this year. Unless your representatives are Max Miller or Shontel Brown. Both of them opposed this aspect.

If you’re wondering about the politics happening behind the scenes, just know that it’s about what you would expect. The House of Representatives majority is held by Republicans by a very narrow margin. Republicans are trying to decrease the total spending on the bill while Democrats are trying to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding that is critical to their constituencies. In total, SNAP accounts for 82% of the Farm Bill’s $1.51 trillion budget.

If your next thought is to separate SNAP from agricultural programs, here’s why that won’t work. Margins are so narrow between the parties in Congress that SNAP will not pass without the agricultural programs, and the agricultural programs won’t pass without SNAP. Anyone who tells you to separate them wants both to fail.

So what happens now? Well, there’s a lot of ball game left to play here. The Democrats hold the majority in the Senate and still need to introduce their bill into committee. For a longer explanation, listen to this episode of Kernels with Luke Crumley and Jessy Woodworth.

Bottom line, the House took the first step toward a new Farm Bill. We will see how it all shakes out over the next few months with elections coming up and keep you informed.