House and Senate Farm Bill Outlines Suggest Opportunity for Reforms Benefiting Family-Scale Farmers

NFFCPress Room

Jordan Treakle
National Program Coordinator
(202) 543-5675

Antonio Tovar
Senior Policy Associate
(202) 543-5675

Washington, DC, May 7, 2024 – After more than a year of delays, the Farm Bill process took a significant step forward on Wednesday, May 1, with the release of separate proposals by House and Senate Agriculture Committees. As US farmers continue to lose ground – the 2023 Census of Agriculture revealed that 510,000 farms have closed or consolidated since 2017 – the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) views this moment as an opportunity to transform our federal agriculture policies. After much anticipation, NFFC is encouraged to see the Farm Bill process move forward and will engage with both committees towards legislative reforms that independent farmers and ranchers require to thrive. 

Jim Goodman, President of NFFC, remarked: “The Farm Bill has far-reaching impacts on all food producers and consumers. NFFC will continue to advocate for a Farm Bill that prioritizes the production of real food that promotes peoples health, and is produced locally in resilient systems that protect the environment. We urge Congress to include measures that reflect the values most important to our farmers by enacting agricultural policies that de-emphasize consolidation in all sectors of the food system, and ensure that farmers receive fair prices for their work.”

The US Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), released a detailed summary of their upcoming Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act. NFFC appreciates the Senate’s dedication to protecting crucial financial and technical assistance programs and conservation measures that keep farms in business and safeguard natural resources in our rural communities. While the Senate proposal does not fully address root causes of farm loss in the US, it provides a good starting point for collaboration and incorporating critical policy priorities such as strengthening competition, ensuring fair pricing mechanisms, protecting farmer borrower rights, and limiting speculative corporate land ownership. In the coming months, NFFC remains committed to working closely with Senate leaders to achieve a Farm Bill that ensures success and long-term stability for all US farmers and ranchers. 

California Dairy Campaign Executive Director Lynne McBride added: “According to the latest agriculture census, the number of dairy farms nationwide dropped by 40% in just five years. The farm bill is an opportunity to change direction by incentivizing the balance of milk production with demand, which will improve and stabilize farmer milk prices and prevent the loss of more dairy farms. CDC looks forward to working with Congress and allies on a farm bill that provides long-term support for our nation’s dairy farmers.”

The House Committee on Agriculture, led by Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), also shared a brief summary of their Farm Bill proposal. While the House summary lacks the depth of detail that the Senate summary offers, NFFC is concerned that some of its included legislation may harm independent producers. As the Farm Bill progresses, NFFC will continue to advocate for a bipartisan approach aimed at crafting impactful legislation.

US farmers, ranchers, and the rural communities they support cannot afford a Farm Bill that sustains the status quo. As discussions around the Farm Bill continue, Congress must urgently address the root causes of the challenges facing our agricultural system through policy proposals such as the Fair Credit for Farmers Act and the Farmland for Farmers Act. NFFC looks forward to the release of full versions of the Senate and House Farm Bills, with the expectation that both chambers will work closely with the rural communities and farmer organizations that  feed us to pass a meaningful 2024 Farm Bill.


Since 1986, the National Family Farm Coalition has been mobilizing family farmers and ranchers to achieve fair prices, vibrant communities, and healthy foods free of corporate domination. Today, NFFC’s 30 member groups span 44 states and represent family farmers, ranchers, and fishermen across the United States. To learn more, visit