April 9, 2024

Public Policy

2024 Farm Bill Update

By: Tom Cosgrove


The Farm Bill has been bogged down since the Fall while Congress has battled over funding the government. Given it’s an election year, Congressional leaders have acknowledged if the Farm Bill isn’t passed by mid-year, it will likely be extended for another year leaving it for the next Congress to complete.  

Hopefully the Farm Bill won’t be another casualty of divided government. Uncertainty over the status of federal farm programs is just one variable Northeast producers have to consider as they plan for the year (and years) ahead. Farm Credit East’s Knowledge Exchange and Financial Services team can help provide insights to inform members’ plans.

In addition to specialized financial services, Farm Credit East provides members the capital needed to sustain and grow their businesses. This year’s Farm Bill provides an opportunity to modify Farm Credit’s authorities to allow the Farm Credit System to provide additional investment to farm, forest products and fishing businesses, and the rural communities they call home.   

Several Farm Credit backed proposals have been introduced this Congress that would allow Farm Credit to lean into meeting the capital needs of rural America. The intent is for these “marker bills” to be included in the Farm Bill. Here is a summary of four of them:  

Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act (S. 1756/H.R. 4940) 

Expands the flow of capital to the aquaculture and fishing industries by allowing Farm Credit to finance businesses that provide services such as vessel and gear repair, fuel, ice, bait and other dock services, and cold storage facilities. Thank you to lead sponsors Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, as well as cosponsors Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Chris Murphy (CT) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ).

Producer and Agricultural Credit Enhancement (PACE) Act (S. 2890/H.R. 5631) 

Increases the limit on USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan guarantees, an important tool for Farm Credit East to support beginning farmers and customers overcoming financial challenges.  

FARM Home Loans Act (S. 3497) 

Raises the population limit on towns eligible for Farm Credit rural home loans, expanding Farm Credit’s ability to finance affordable rural housing. Thanks to Sen. Ed Markey (MA) for being a lead sponsor of this legislation. 

Investing in Rural America Act (H.R. 4736) 

Streamlines Farm Credit’s existing authority to partner with commercial banks or other lenders to finance rural hospitals, senior care centers, walk-in clinics, schools, childcare and other critical community facilities important to the quality of life in rural areas. Thank you to Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY) for cosponsoring that legislation. 

Take Action!

Call your representative and senators to ask them to support the Farm Bill and include these bills. It’s easy! Just call the House of Representatives at (202) 225-3121 or the Senate at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative or senators. Once connected, please ask them to cosponsor the Farm Credit legislation referenced above.  




Tags: policy, legislation

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