Early Friday morning, the House Agriculture Committee completed a 14+ hour markup of its 2024 Farm Bill, passing the measure out of committee by a 33-21 vote. Four Democrats joined all Committee Republicans in voting for the legislation, including Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Erik Sorensen (D-IL), Yadira Caravao (D-CO), and Don Davis (D-NC).

House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson’s (R-PA) bill has sought to move significant sums of funding from existing supplemental spending bills such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into the baseline, permanent funding amounts for various programs, mostly focused on the Conservation Title. Many Democrats on the Committee felt this was “tying the hands” of the Secretary of Agriculture to use discretion in spending the supplemental funding from the IRA and the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). They voted for a proposed amendment to strip this provision from the bill. The amendment failed, and the original language was maintained to move the IRA/CCC funding into the baseline amounts for various programs.

Thompson’s bill also includes provisions to double the funding of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. These two critical programs support export promotion for agricultural products in key markets. This language was maintained in the Committee-passed bill.

Shortly before midnight, Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) offered an amendment directing the Department of Labor to bar any meat and poultry processing entity or any subcontractor from entering into a contract with USDA (to provide meat and poultry products to USDA’s food assistance programs) if the company has in any way violated the Fair Labor Standards Act or any related rulemaking.

Immediately after Rep. Casar offered his amendment, Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) expressed concern with the amendment and offered a substitute amendment that would instead direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the failures of employment authorization verification tools such as E-Verify, which he felt have led to unauthorized hiring in various facilities.

The Committee debated the amendments for nearly two hours before voting to include Rep. Van Orden’s amendment. The Committee did not hold a vote to include Rep. Casar’s amendment.

Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) offered but withdrew two amendments of note. One would bar USDA from using any funding to research or otherwise publish rulemaking on producing cell-cultured meat products. Rep. Nunn’s second amendment would have allowed hot foods to be bought using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars. Neither amendment received a vote.

The bill now moves to the House floor. Chairman Thompson (R-PA) indicated that FY2025 appropriations bills will dominate the House floor schedule until at least September, which is the earliest he sees for the House to take up the Farm Bill.

On the Senate side, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has not released the text of her version of the farm bill, nor has she scheduled a markup on the legislation. Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) praised the work of the House Agriculture Committee in its markup and indicated that he plans to release his proposal for a bill in the coming weeks.

Chairman Thompson’s Farm Bill proposal’s summaries can be found here. Chair Stabenow’s Farm Bill proposal’s summaries can be found here.