House agriculture panel marks up Farm Bill proposal

The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday marks up its Farm Bill proposal. (Screenshot of streamed event)

The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday held a markup of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, the House Republicans’ proposal to reauthorize the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is the governing legislation for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, including nutrition programs, agriculture research programs and rural development initiatives. Last reauthorized in 2018, the current Farm Bill – the Agriculture Improvement Act – was set to expire in 2023 but received a one-year extension. Lawmakers are now working to deliver a 2024 Farm Bill before the end of the 118th Congress.

The Farm, Food, and National Security Act includes many bipartisan proposals and priorities that drew support from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee. However, Democratic members strongly oppose many of the changes, including restricting changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) Thrifty Food Plan, removing climate guardrails from the Inflation Reduction Act’s conversation funding, and limiting the secretary’s authority.

At our press time, committee members had not yet offered any amendments to the bill, but it is expected that House Democrats will try to remove these provisions through the amendment process.

Proposed grants program

Many community college priorities were reflected in the Farm, Food, and National Security Act. Most significantly, the bill includes new grants for community college agriculture programs. The new Grants for Community College Agriculture and Natural Resources Program would provide funding to colleges to conduct workforce training, education, research and outreach activities relating to food and agricultural services. The new grant program was inspired by the Community College Agricultural Advancement Act – strongly supported by the American Association of Community College (AACC) – but differs slightly in its language and authorization level.

AACC looks forward to working with policymakers in both the House and Senate to ensure that new funding for community colleges is included in the final Farm Bill.

Retaining eligibility

The bill also includes a new earnings disregard for SNAP participants in Employment and Training (E&T) subsidized work-based learning programs, many of which are offered by community colleges. Inspired by the SNAP E&T Enhancements Act and other proposals, this change will support program completion by preventing students from losing their SNAP access mid-program.

Finally, the bill acknowledges that too many college students experience food insecurity and will require the USDA secretary to issue new guidance to states on how to identify and notify students of their eligibility for SNAP.

The committee will likely approve the bill. AACC will continue monitoring its progress in the House and opportunities to protect and advance community college priorities during negotiations with the Senate, which last week introduced its proposal, the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act. More information on the Senate proposal is available in the Community College Daily.

Read the rest of this week’s Advocacy Quick Hits.

About the Author

Kathryn Gimborys
Kathryn Gimborys is a government relations manager at the American Association of Community Colleges.
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.