Ag Policy Blog

Kansas Sen. Marshall Sees Farm Bill Debate Rolling into 2025

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, touring a wheat breeding facility in Manhattan, Kansas, in April 2023. Marshall has been championing a framework laid out this week by Boozman for a new farm bill, but the Kansas senator doesn't anticipate a bill will be done until spring of 2025. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

Kansas GOP Sen. Roger Marshall said he expects Congress won't pass a new farm bill until spring of 2025.

Marshall, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has done multiple interviews since Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released a framework for a new farm bill.

Speaking to DTN on Thursday, the Kansas senator said Republicans won't sign off on a bill led by Democrats "unless they change their priorities." Marshall said, " We believe that Republicans will win the elections in November, and we'll have a Republican majority in the Senate, and that will give us the opportunity to have a Sen. John Bozeman, Republican from Arkansas, to be leading the charge in the end of the day."

That basically means the current farm bill would likely need another extension after September, but action on a new bill will come next spring because Republicans believe they will capture the Senate and also elect Donald Trump president.

"That's right. So yeah, we would do an extension of the current farm bill until, say, the spring of 2025," Marshall said.

As DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom wrote this week in a National Journal column, the farm bill drafts coming from both sides right now are "campaign documents." Republicans are trying to appeal to commodity farmers and people who believe food-aid programs are out of control while Democrats are trying to appeal to nutrition-program beneficiaries and environmentalists, as well as organic and smaller minority farmers.

Essentially, the partisan set up leads to gridlock. "The stark differences between the bills make it unlikely that either side will be willing to compromise before the elections."

Marshall brought out that point as well by highlighting how the Senate GOP framework would boost support for farmers.

"If your readers grow commodities they're going love our version," Marshall said. "First of all, we increased the reference prices around 15%. Those reference prices are what drive the Title I funding programs -- the ARC and PLC programs. So, when we talk about putting the farm back in the farm bill, this is something we've been fighting for, specifically increasing reference prices, for at least five years."

The Senate bill also provides a chance for farmers without bases acres or "minimal base" to add base acres, especially for new and beginning farmers. The framework doesn't provide as many details as the House bill, which would allow up to 30 million more base acres for ARC and PLC programs.

Marshall also pointed to the proposed changes in crop insurance. The Senate GOP framework would increase premium support -- which averages about 62% -- up to as high as 77% for policies with 80% coverage levels. The premium subsidies would go to 68% for policies with 85% coverage levels.

The senator ties the need to increase crop insurance support to food inflation under President Joe Biden.

"If Americans want affordable groceries -- now Joe Biden has not made them affordable, he's actually driving them up. So we have to protect the cost of food on the front end of this as well. What crop insurance does is allows the farmers to plant next year's crop, even though he had a bad crop this year."

Marshall also criticized how Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has designed plans for the conservation programs, which incorporated the $15 billion or so from the Inflation Reduction Act, but requires farmers using those dollars to adopt practices that either sequester carbon or reduce greenhouse gases. USDA has identified more than 200 practices that meet those requirements.

"The way she drawn up the conservation program, American agriculture is going to be eliminated from using about half of them. We cannot do all of the practices. For instance, in the western third of the state, we cannot do cover crops," Marshall said. " So, the way she has drawn it up, if you don't do cover crops you can be eliminated from EQIP (Environmental Quality Improvements Program)."

Other provisions on air-quality standards would impact funding for dairies or feedyards, Marshall said.

"So again, we want to do the right thing. We are continually growing more with less. We're continuing to be more environmentally friendly, but the way that Democrats have thrown up their framework, they just put too tight of guardrails on it."

Stabenow, after Boozman released his framework, called for common ground and reaching a bipartisan compromise, but the chairwoman also said of the GOP plan, "It makes significant cuts to the family safety net that millions of Americans rely on and walks away from the progress we have made to address the climate crisis. Similar to the House, the framework also appears to propose spending far in excess of available funding."

Marshall said there are no cuts to nutrition programs, which have nearly doubled in costs since the last farm bill was passed. "Yes, we would like to add some more integrity to the program. There's probably 10% or 15% of fraud and abuse and waste in that program so we would like to see a little more integrity with it."

He also disputed that the GOP bill would spend too much money, though right now there is no score on just how much it would increase spending. Similar to the House bill, the Senate GOP plan would take funding from the Commodity Credit Corp., (CCC) -- though not as much as the House -- and place more restrictions on how USDA can use it.

"The Title 1 funding we take that out of the CCC, which, with all due respect, the Secretary of Agriculture has been using as a slush fund for his green priorities," Marshall said.

Marshall said a lot depends on how Stabenow and other Senate Democrats react. "She seems pretty dug in right now, but we'll see after she takes a look at this if she's willing to make agriculture a priority in the farm bill. Then we'll keep talking."

Also see, "Boozman Reveals Senate GOP Farm Bill Framework,"…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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