Could Climate Change Produce a Revolutionary 2023 Farm Bill?

This is an excerpt of the Farm Foundation Issue Report, Could Climate Change Produce a Revolutionary 2023 Farm Bill? The full Issue Report, written by Jonathan Coppess and Chris Adamo, provides an initial and brief look at the potential for climate change to drive revolutionary changes in a farm bill. It focuses on two initial concepts that could be built around farm support and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but also notes the multiple paths towards revolutionary status in 2023.

Approaching the five-year deadline for reauthorizing a farm bill offers a moment for review, as well as a chance to speculate on the potential paths for a new farm bill. Among many other things, history teaches that Congress very rarely produces revolutionary changes in policy and that farm bills are no exception. Twenty-two legislative enactments since 1933 can arguably be considered farm bills, but only three can be considered to have produced revolutionary changes; a fourth farm bill comes close.

This report briefly reviews farm bill history to highlight these revolutionary bills and seeks to think through what a revolutionary farm bill in 2023 could include. Congress could take many paths to enact a revolutionary farm bill; out of necessity, this report selects a single path to highlight how climate change could revolutionize a farm bill.

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