A $1 Trillion Farm Bill
The 2023 Farm Bill will be the first in history to cost over $1 trillion according to John Newton, chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee. During a recent Agri-Pulse webinar on the state of the farm bill, he said a lot of the cost increase comes from more money for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“The farm bill has increased in size by over 70 percent. SNAP is a big reason why the Farm Bill has grown so much in size. The Thrifty Food Plan update that was conducted in August of 2021 increased SNAP spending by $300 billion. And to put that into perspective, that's more than we spend on every other title in the Farm Bill, so SNAP is certainly eating into the Farm Bill. It's eating into our capacity to do other things we'd like to do in the farm bill, including in the nutrition space when you think about adding additional fruits and vegetables and their availability.”
According to Newton, combined from February to May, the Congressional Budget Office updated their forecasts for SNAP spending by $36 billion, which demonstrates the magnitude of the SNAP program and its relationship to the farm bill at over 80 percent.