Budzinski’s Fight for a Bi-Partisan Farm Bill

By Benjamin Cox on January 30, 2024 at 1:28pm

13th District Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski says the ongoing budget fight in Washington is standing in the way of a bipartisan compromise on a new Farm Bill being passed.

The government’s funding is on a continuing resolution until early March. The country is still operating under the 2018 Farm Bill, and will operate under its continued resolution until September 30th. The 2018 bill expired this past September, but had to be extended because of Congress’ continued gridlock.

Budzinski says she’s grown frustrated because the budget fight is holding up equally important legislation: “All of this kind of chaos around the budget has stalled some of the really important pieces of legislation, the farm bill being top among them for me. So let’s get this budget done. I think that will free up the time we have on the floor for actually passing the Farm Bill. I talked to the chairman of our ag committee, Chairman Thompson, I know he too wants to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill [and] get it done this year. A lot of the legislative language, I believe, has really been worked out on a bipartisan basis. Just getting the time on the floor to get this passed out of the House and over to the Senate. The House physically leads on the Farm Bill.”

Budzinski says she’s negotiated for two bipartisan provisions to be included in the next Farm Bill: “One is supporting young and beginning farmers. Agriculture is the number one economic driver for the State of Illinois. When we recognize that the average age of a farmer is 58 years old, we need to be thinking about how we’re investing in the next generation of young people to get into agriculture. My bipartisan piece of legislation is to really break down barriers, provide low interest loans, access to low interest loans for the beginning farmers so they can acquire land, that being one of the biggest barriers for young people getting into farming. The second is really around investments in agricultural research. We need to be able to keep our competitive edge as it relates to innovation and research in agriculture. We have some of the best community colleges and certainly the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign’s College of A.C.E.S., Lincoln Land’s agriculture program at Springfield. We’re leading the way right now in agriculture research, but we need to keep that investment going.”

Budzinski says that once the budget is finally agreed upon, she expects the other funding bills like the Farm Bill that are operating under a continued resolution will pass on a bipartisan basis.