Rising Costs of the 2023 Farm Bill
The 2023 Farm Bill will be the first in history to cost over $1 trillion. John Newton is the 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.
Newton… “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.”
Newton says the Congressional Budget Office made two big changes to their SNAP cost projections between February and May.
Newton… “First, in fiscal year 2023, they increased SNAP participation by approximately a million people, increased SNAP outlays by $18 billion in a single year, so SNAP went from $127 billion in February, and then in their May estimate, they raised it to 145 billion. And then, over the next ten-year period, they increased SNAP again by $18 billion. Combined from February to May, the Congressional Budget Office updated their forecasts for SNAP spending by $36 billion, which just demonstrates the magnitude of the SNAP program and its relationship to the farm bill, again, over 80 percent.”
Again, John Newton is the chief economist of the Senate Ag Committee.