UACES Facebook Shipman: Delayed budget could influence development of 2023 Farm Bill
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Shipman: Delayed budget could influence development of 2023 Farm Bill

The president isn’t expected to submit his budget to Congress until March 9. By statute, the budget is due the first Monday in February.

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Feb. 22, 2023

Fast facts

  • Shipman: Ag committees’ composition could be an advantage
  • Webinar available for view

(585 words)

(Newsrooms: With file art of Shipman, and Boozman and Stabenow at a farm bill hearing in Arkansas last year:,; With mainbar: Congress urged to strengthen price, revenue supports, crop insurance programs at Farm Bill listening session)

UNDATED — Uncertainty over President Biden’s budget and whether Congress can achieve true bipartisan agreement are among the challenges facing the 2023 Farm Bill, said Hunt Shipman, principal and director of Cornerstone Government Affairs.

Shipman expects that the good working relationship between Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and ranking member Sen. John Boozman will help development of the Farm Bill.

The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30.

“Every Farm Bill is important, and this one is no exception, but it faces unique headwinds in Congress,” Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center, said. “The outcome will define what the farm safety net will look like in the coming years, which impacts farming operations, lenders, and others throughout the ag industry.”

The Farm Bill was among a spectrum of topics Shipman addressed in “Looking Ahead: Impact of the 2022 Elections on Ag Law and Policy,” a webinar hosted by the National Agricultural Law Center in January.

The president isn’t expected to submit his budget to Congress until March 9. By statute, the budget is due the first Monday in February.

Shipman said the delay “may also influence the timing of the ‘23 Farm Bill being able to truly get underway.”

In an email after the webinar, Shipman said “the desire by some in Congress to cut spending will require some negotiation among the House, Senate and White House to reach an overall spending agreement that likely includes a debt ceiling increase. That agreement will be necessary for the ag committees know exactly what they've got to work with.”

In addition to timing, budget oversight will be a major issue for Congress, and Shipman cited rural broadband efforts as an example.

“As we think about other areas that have been of interest in past Farm Bills — rural development, broadband — continues to be a focus,” he said. “If you look at some of the analyses that have been done, there are 133 broadband programs administered by federal agencies … that have spent well over $115 billion to ostensibly expand broadband access in the country.”

Shipman said there’s talk about additional broadband support in the next Farm Bill and expects “close scrutiny as to whether or not the dollars that have been already allocated for that have been spent wisely and in the most efficient manner possible.”

Additionally, “I don't think it's going to get easier to write a Farm Bill in 2024 with an election year looming over us,” he said. “But we've done it in the past, and we may do it again this time.”

Working together

Two factors that may encourage moving the Farm Bill forward are the members of the congressional agriculture committees and the impending retirement of Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“We’ve got the same four leaders of the agriculture committee that we had in the last Congress just changing roles on the House side, with G.T. Thompson of Pennsylvania taking over as chair, and Sen. Stabenow remains chair of the Agriculture Committee in the Senate, and then the ranking member, it’s Sen. (John) Boozman from Arkansas,” Shipman said.

“After much of the negotiation that happened in the last Congress, I think for them to work together, they now know each other well and hopefully will be able to move forward for a Farm Bill,” he said. “Whether or not there can be true bipartisan agreement on that … we have the foundation for that between Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Boozman.”

Shipman also said that Stabenow announced that she won’t seek re-election in 2024.

“This will be her last Farm Bill,” he said. “I think that’s important to note because she has certainly made her mark on previous Farm Bills and I think she will definitely want to leave with an impactful role on the Ag Committee.”

Shipman also fielded questions about nutrition and insurance programs, as well as industrial hemp.

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About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

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Media contact: Mary Hightower