fbpx Skip to content

2014 Farm Bill Expires: what does it mean and what’s next?


After more than a year of work by those most interested in passing an on-time Farm Bill – farmers, ranchers and advocacy groups interested in sustainable agriculture, conservation and forestry – the 2014 Farm Bill expired at midnight on September 30, 2018.  The expiration marks the second time in a row that the Farm Bill has expired without an extension.

What does this mean for landowners?

Several farm bill conservation programs – often called orphan programs – are in limbo.  Funding for these programs is maintained, but without a farm bill extension, the USDA does not have the authority to use that funding.  Existing contracts and payments will be honored, but don’t expect any new sign-ups or enrollments.

Examples of orphan programs:

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) – this includes renewals for those whose first contract expires this year
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) – funding is available until expended, so this program will not halt entirely until available funding is spent
  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)

For these and other programs left in the lurch, the USDA will not hold sign-ups until authorized to do so. This means that farmers and ranchers will not be able to work with the USDA to plan next year’s activities until later than normal, potentially making it difficult to implement conservation practices in 2019.

An exception of note is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP was reauthorized through the end of FY19 in the March omnibus. This is good news since EQIP is a popular conservation program across the West.  Additionally, most commodity programs are tied to the crop year, not the fiscal year, and funding for those programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) remains in place. Any program that maintains funding will adhere to the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill.

What’s next?

The House is in recess for the month of October, so it is unlikely there will be movement on the 2018 Farm Bill until after midterm elections. However, it is our hope that Senate and House Agriculture Leaders will work diligently to ensure that programs whose funding ends at the end of 2018 will not be left unfunded. Continued funding could occur through a short-term extension of the 2014 Farm Bill or through passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Western Landowners Alliance will continue to advocate for a new farm bill, passed this year, that improves landowner opportunities to implement conservation practices, improve forest management and achieve sustainable agriculture.

Send any questions about this or other policy updates posted by WLA to Jessica Crowder, WLA Policy Director: jessica@westernlandowners.org.

Did we reach you?

Help us continue telling stories that matter.

We provide a megaphone for the practical voices of conservation-minded land stewards; voices too often shouted down or crowded out in our polarized age. If you appreciate nuance, pragmatism, and a willingness to deal honestly with thorny issues in your information sources, please consider making a gift to WLA today to help us continue that work.

Tenacity + Solidarity + Creativity

One cold, dark, November night, I was lost somewhere outside the small town of Walden, CO, searching for a bison ranch. I had taken time off from my marketing job at Whole Foods Market to help during the outfit’s annual bison roundup. With no cell service, I was becoming increasingly concerned about finding the ranch. Self-doubt kicked in. When I finally had service I called my husband. “Is this normal?! For a 30-some year old woman to be spending her free time showing up at some ranch not knowing where she is going to sleep, what she is going to eat, to learn about a completely new profession?!” My husband replied, “No, but do it anyway.”

Profiles in Land and Management – Grupo La Báscula

This month we are sharing our profile of the Grupo La Báscula in Chihuahua, Mexico. This profile highlights the inspiring work of a community-based grazing cooperative that with planned adaptive grazing has improved vegetation and soil health, supported wildlife populations, and increased economic success and opportunity in the arid grasslands of northern Mexico.

Stay up to date on policy changes and new developments.

Western Landowners Alliance will send you the latest developments and policy updates important to the economic and ecological health of working lands.

WLA works on behalf of landowners and practitioners throughout the West. We will never share your contact information with anyone. You can manage your subscription or unsubscribe at any time.

©2019 Western Landowners Alliance • PO BOX 6278, Santa Fe, NM 87502 • 505.466.1495 • Privacy Policy

Scroll To Top