Developments Relating to the 2014 Farm Bill

Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team continues to review the 2014 Agricultural Act (the “2014 Farm Bill”) for its impacts on our clients.

The 2014 Farm Bill includes $125 Million in mandatory funding over five years for research, extension activities and technical assistance towards addressing and eliminating citrus greening.  This is in addition to funding announced last year for a multi-agency “emergency response framework” to fight the disease that has threatened Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry.

The 2014 Farm Bill reflects a shift away from direct payments to crop insurance subsidies.  It also reinstates a tie between compliance with conservation requirements and insurance subsidies which was severed by the 1996 Farm Bill.  Participation in the subsidy program will now require compliance with the “Sodbuster” and “Swampbuster” regulations.  Under the new laws, farmers who convert wetlands to agricultural production after the February 8, 2014 effective date of the 2014 Farm Bill may not receive insurance subsidies.  Those who are not in compliance with the rule have one insurance year to come into compliance before being declared ineligible.  Rules for implementing these changes in the law have yet to be developed, but are likely to come quickly, since they represent links to existing law which have been required under other farm programs.