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How are Oklahoma farmers impacted by Farm Bill uncertainty?

Alex Hayduke
/
Unsplash

Despite lawmakers missing the Farm Bill’s deadline at the end of September, Oklahoma farmers are not seeing many changes to major agriculture programs yet.

The Farm Bill is still in flux and Amy Hagerman, an agriculture and food policy OSU extension specialist, said not knowing what’s going to happen with the farm bill can be concerning for producers.

“Really, where we get in times of uncertainty is what are these programs going to look like once the new Farm Bill is in place?" Hagerman said.

She said most agriculture programs will continue normally up to the bill’s new deadline at the end of this year. Programs like crop insurance and other disaster plans are permanently authorized and do not expire. Most agriculture programs should have enough funding to last until the end of the year.

Hagerman said this could provide assurance for local producers planting crops or selling calves this fall.

“Then once we get to Dec. 31, we have to start thinking… ‘Will we get an extension of the current Farm Bill?’” Hagerman said.

Earlier this week, Hagerman spoke at the Rural Economic Outlook Conference about the changes being considered for the bill’s commodities, crop insurance and conservation titles. Hagerman said the possible adjustments lawmakers are discussing like a base-acres update and making buy-up coverage more effective could impact many Oklahoma producers.

For Hagerman, additional time spent on the bill allows for more producers and rural residents to provide input on the legislation.

One of the benefits is that as we are going through the next year, as we are continuing to work on the farm bill, there is still time to engage in the process and to bring forward concerns or technical issues to help address those for the next Farm Bill,” Hagerman said.

At the end of the year, Congress can pass a 2023 Farm Bill, file an extension or let it expire allowing some programs to revert back to the bill’s 1940s language.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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