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FARM BILL 2023 | Not Just a Bill: A Marker Bill!

Updated: Apr 14, 2023



What is a marker bill?

Marker bills are not necessarily intended to be passed into law. Rather, marker bills are created to show support for particular topics related to large federal packages, like the 2023 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is up for reauthorization by the end of September 2023.


Even though September is months away, the review process for the reauthorization of the Farm Bill is already underway, and part of that process is the submission of marker bills. The deadline for submission of marker bills is fast approaching, on March 15, 2023. Then the Senate and House Agriculture Committees separately review marker bills, and the marker bills guide the decision-making processes of each committee.


The Senate Committee will review the Senate marker bills, and the House Committee will review the House marker bills. However, some marker bills were submitted to both the House and the Senate, which could increase the chance both Congress Committees will review particular topics (see the list below to find bills that overlap).


What can you do to help the decision-making process related to the 2023 Farm Bill?

If you read this before March 15, 2023, you can contact your state Congress Members to sponsor or co-sponsor marker bills. Even if a Congress Member is not on an Agriculture Committee, they can show support for a particular issue through their bill sponsorship. When their constituents indicate that a topic is important to them, it may motivate the legislator to offer support.



You may be reading this after March 15. If so, you can continue contacting your Congress Members on the Senate or House Agriculture Committees! They work for you, and they need to know what you care about.


In addition, the Senate Committee is taking public comment, as is the House Committee. Again, you can submit your opinion, even if your Congress Members are not on the Congressional Agriculture Committees!


A collective voice saying similar things helps motivate Congress Members to listen to constituents and show support for topics that are important to those they represent.


Spotlight on Three Farm Bill-Related Marker Bills

Among the dozens of marker bills we looked at, the three below were among those that speak to some of the issues the Food Policy Council is working on in our region.


Date Introduced: February 9, 2023

Summary: This bill supports small and very small meat and poultry processing establishments by amending the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

Introduced by: Senator John Thune with 6 Cosponsors

  • 3 Democrat Cosponsors

  • 2 Republican Cosponsors

  • 1 Independent Cosponsor

Date Introduced: January 26, 2023

Summary: The bill addresses the history of discrimination and lack of access for black farmers and ranchers. The bill has directives to the USDA, so the Department will reform programs and funding processes to prevent future discrimination. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives.

Introduced by: Senator Cory Booker with 6 Cosponsors

  • 5 Democrat Cosponsors

  • 1 Independent Cosponsor

Date Introduced: April 22, 2021

Summary: This bill addresses the impact of climate change on agriculture. The bill sets a goal for the agricultural sector in the United States “to achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in net greenhouse gasses from 2010 levels by not later than 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by not later than 2040.”

Introduced by: Representative Chellie Pingree with 47 Cosponsors (all Democrat)


2023 Marker Bills by Topic

Current 2023 Farm Bill-related marker bills are listed below, loosely categorized. Some marker bills cover several topics, so each bill is categorized under the bill’s primary topic. Though this list may not be comprehensive, the vast majority of the marker bills submitted as part of the reauthorization process of the Farm Bill are included below§, irrespective of partisan affiliation or other political perspective. The Food Policy Council provides this information as an educational resource, and inclusion in this list does not indicate support by the Food Policy Council staff, partners, members, or supporters. The asterisk (*) next to some bills indicates if a marker bill aligns with a priority of one of the Food Policy Council's state or national partners, including Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and Kentucky Food Action Network.


§ This list does not include marker bills related to the Nutrition Title of the Farm Bill. We plan to feature more information about the Nutrition Title soon.


Topics


Marker Bills Related to Livestock

​Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill calls for an amendment of the Agricultural Act of 2014 so certain farm-raised fish losses can be included under insurance payment programs for livestock loss.

The bill requires publishing a database on live cattle delivered to meat processing facilities (cattle contracts) through the amendment of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.

The bill would extend the pilot program to eradicate feral swine flu.

The bill would establish a country-of-origin labeling requirements program for beef products by amending the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.

A bill to establish the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within the Department of Agriculture.

Marker Bills Related to Energy and Utilities

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill would adjust USDA loans for critical rural utility services.

The bill would provide additional funds for both state and federal energy resilience programs.

The bill would stop certain energy production on agricultural land from receiving the energy credit by amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Marker Bills Related to Justice and Employee Rights

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill calls for amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, so certain agricultural-focused employee overtime laws can be limited or eliminated.

This bill would establish a student loan forgiveness program for qualified young ranchers and farmers.

Marker Bills Related to Conservation

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill calls for improvement of agricultural productivity, profitability, resilience, and ecological outcomes through modernized data analysis Infrastructure by amending the Food Security Act of 1985.

The bill requires the Natural Resource Conservation Service to review the federal conservation practice standards through the lens of the current climate and what practice standards would provide the most benefits.

The bill requires that composting programs is a conservation program and requires the increase of grants and loan guarantees for composting facilities and programs. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

To repeal the Department of Agriculture bioenergy subsidy programs and other related subsidy programs.

The bill calls for the establishment of semipostal stamps that raises money to combat invasive species.

The bill requires no net increase in reserved lands by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service.

The bill provides funds for spotted wing drosophila research and mitigation through amending the Plant Protection Act.

The bill amends the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 so the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior do not have to reinstate consultation on land management and land use plans.

The bill limits applicable conservation loans guarantees for qualification through the amendment of the Agricultural Act of 1961.

The bill would decrease or eliminate barriers for farmers trying to access emergency funding through the emergency conservation program through amending the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978.

The bill would establish a research study of the barriers farmers face when establishing conservation practices on leased land.

The bill would provide funding for research and extension resources to combat plant pests and noxious weeds that impact the coffee plant by amending the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

NOTE: This bill was incorporated into the House Appropriations bill of 2023 and was signed into law by President Biden at the end of 2023. A Senate version was also submitted to the Committee on Agriculture. This bill required the Secretary of Agriculture to eliminate barriers for beginning farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners for conservation markets & programs.

The bill would modify the macadamia tree health initiative by amending the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the Senate as the Senate version of it.

Marker Bills Related to Forestry

​Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill would create an appointed committee to review the Forest Service’s forest inventory and analysis program.

The bill would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to prevent wildfires through various activities.

Marker Bills Related to Trade

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill would “expand the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program.”

The bill would “extend and expand the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program.”

“A bill to amend the Defense Production Act of 1950 to prevent harm and disruption to the United States agriculture industry by protecting against foreign influence over agriculture production and supply chains, and for other purposes." NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

Marker Bills Related to Risk Assessment & Mitigation

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill would increase funding available to agricultural producers for disaster relief by amending the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2023. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

The bill would create an Office of High-Risk AFO Disaster Mitigation and Enforcement in the USDA. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

The bill would require producers to establish disaster readiness plans to be eligible for certain disaster assistance programs.

Marker Bills Related to Other Topics

Bill Name (with link)

Summary

The bill directs the USDA to rulemaking and implement approved recommendations by the National Organic Standards Board.

“A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to carry out certain activities to enhance recreational opportunities for gateway communities, to amend the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to provide for the establishment of a digital National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, and for other purposes.”

This bill would invite and include the Secretary of Agriculture to the Committee on Foreign Investment to help review certain agricultural transactions by amending the Defense Production Act of 1950. NOTE: There is a similar bill submitted to the House of Representatives as the House version of it.

The bill would prohibit the limitation of lead ammunition or tackle on certain Federal land or water through directives to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture.

The bill would prohibit “certain persons” from purchasing agricultural land.

The bill would direct the USDA to waive matching requirements for specialty crops research initiatives by amending the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998.

Want to get into even more of the details?

We have a "living document" tracking submitted marker bills:

 

🧑‍🌾 If you'd like to get involved in our advocacy work, join a Committee!

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