Farm Bill Primer: Programs Without Baseline Beyond FY2018

Updated May 2, 2018 Farm Bill Primer: Programs Without Baseline Beyond FY2018 The 2014 farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014, P.L. 11379) authorized $489 billion of mandatory spending over FY2014-FY2018. It generally expires at the end of FY2018. From a budgetary perspective, many of these programs are assumed to continue beyond their authorization. That is, they have a “baseline” beyond the end of the farm bill. Having a baseline essentially gives programs built-in future funding if policymakers decide that the programs should continue, or, if not, the baseline can be reallocated to other programs or used as an offset for deficit reduction. However, a subset of programs that received mandatory funding in the 2014 farm bill does not have a baseline beyond the end of the farm bill. These are referred to as “farm bill programs without a baseline” and do not have assured future funding. Reauthorization in the next farm bill would have a positive score (cost) and likely need to be offset by reductions elsewhere. Generally, a program with estimated mandatory spending in the last year of its authorization will be assumed to continue in the baseline as if there were no change in policy and it did not expire. Other programs, though, are not assumed to continue in the baseline, because they have mandatory spending less than a minimum $50 million scoring threshold in the last year of the farm bill or were not given baseline to continue by the authorizing committees. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects future government spending in its budget baselines but has not specifically published a list of expiring farm bill programs without a continuing baseline. To compile this list, CRS analyzed the CBO score of the 2014 farm bill, the statutory text of the law, and current CBO baseline projection, looking for programs that received mandatory funding but do not have baseline beyond FY2018 (Figure 1, Table 1). Figure 1. 2014 Farm Bill Programs Without a Budget Baseline After FY2018 Source: Compiled by CRS using the text of P.L. 113-79; the CBO score of the Agricultural Act of 2014, Table 4, “Detailed Effects on Direct Spending,” January 28, 2014; and the CBO Baseline Projection for USDA Mandatory Farm Programs, April 2018. Farm Bill Primer: Programs Without Baseline Beyond FY2018 Table 1. 2014 Farm Bill Programs Without Baseline Section Name of Provision Based on this analysis, 39 programs across 10 of the 12 titles of the farm bill do not have a continuing baseline after FY2018. These programs had estimated mandatory spending totaling $2.824 billion over the five-year window of the farm bill. Any extended authorization of these programs would be scored as new mandatory spending, which may require either offsets from existing baseline for other programs or an increase in net spending. 1614 Commodity Program Implementation 2502 Grassroots Source Water Protection 2503 Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive 2505 Small Watershed Rehabilitation 2507 Terminal Lakes 2609 Wetlands Mitigation Banking 3013 Foreign Market Development Program 3205 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops 4004 Food Distribution Indian Reservations Study 4022 Pilot Projects to Reduce Dependency 4025 Review of Cash Assistance Program in Puerto Rico 4029 Retail Food Store and Recipient Trafficking 4031 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Pilot 4208 Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive 4214 Pilot for Canned, Frozen, or Dried Fruits, Vegetables 6023 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance 6203 Value-added Ag. Product Market Development 6210 Pending Water and Waste Disposal Applications 7211 Organic Agricultural Research and Extension 7409 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development 7601 Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research 9002 Biobased Markets 9003 Biorefinery Assistance 9004 Repowering Assistance 9005 Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels 9006 Biodiesel Fuel Education 9008 Biomass Research and Development 9010 Biomass Crop Assistance 10003 Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion 10004(a) Organic Production and Market Data Initiative 10004(b) National Organic Program Technology Upgrade 10004(c) National Organic Certification Cost-share CRS In Focus IF10783, Farm Bill Primer: Budget Issues. 11020 Crop Insurance Implementation 11026 Index-based Weather Insurance Pilot CRS Report R44758, Farm Bill Programs Without a Budget Baseline Beyond FY2018. 12102 Sheep Production and Marketing Grant 12201 Outreach: Socially Disadvantaged, Veteran Producers 12314 Pima Cotton Trust Fund 12315 Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund 12316 Wool Research and Promotion As a share of the $489 billion five-year mandatory cost of the farm bill in 2014 when it was enacted, programs without a baseline beyond FY2018 are relatively small: 0.6% of the total projected farm bill spending, or 2.5% of the total excluding the nutrition programs. However, the impact of programs without a baseline varies by title of the farm bill. Notable programs without continuing baseline include certain conservation programs; most of the bioenergy, rural development, and research title programs that received mandatory spending; various nutrition title pilot programs and studies; organic agriculture and farmers’ market programs; trade promotion programs; and outreach to socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers. For the rural development title, 100% of the mandatory spending in the 2014 farm bill was by programs that do not have baseline beyond FY2018. For the bioenergy and research titles, the share was at least one-half. At the other extreme, nutrition programs and the farm safety net— including crop insurance and the commodity programs— have less than 1% in programs without a continuing baseline (CRS Report R44758, Farm Bill Programs Without a Budget Baseline Beyond FY2018). With $2.8 billion of programs without baseline, the 2014 farm bill has less dollar exposure to such programs than did the 2008 farm bill, which had 37 programs without baseline totaling an estimated $9 billion to $14 billion. The 2014 farm bill provided 29 of those 37 programs with $6.2 billion of mandatory funding over FY2014-FY2018. Some of those programs reappear on the current list of 2014 farm bill programs without baseline, while others either received a continuing baseline or were not reauthorized. CRS Products CRS In Focus IF10187, Farm Bill Primer: What Is the Farm Bill? Jim Monke, Specialist in Agricultural Policy Source: P.L. 113-79 and CRS Report R44758, Farm Bill Programs Without a Budget Baseline Beyond FY2018. IF10780 Farm Bill Primer: Programs Without Baseline Beyond FY2018 Disclaimer This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material. | IF10780 · VERSION 4 · UPDATED