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Big Money on the Line in Farm Bill Fight

USDA Chief Economist to take part in two sessions at 2017 AAEA Annual Meeting

Negotiations on the 2018 Farm Bill are underway in Washington, D.C., and there is lot on the line right now for the entire agriculture community.

Among the most controversial topics in this legislation is possible changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP. The program, which is the largest budget item in the farm bill, helped more than 40 million Americans get access to food last year.

“Food affects every single American,” says AAEA member Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois. “This legislation provides the foundation for the federal government’s direct involvement with the agricultural sector and the funding of the hugely important SNAP food assistance program.”

However right now in the House of Representatives there is a Republican budget proposal to make $10 billion in cuts to agriculture programs, including SNAP. In a recent hearing, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Representative Colin Peterson (D-MN) said, “The cuts as outlined in the Majority’s budget resolution will make it much more difficult, if not near impossible, to pass a new farm bill. Singling out the SNAP program will kill the farm bill.”

The Farm Bill and SNAP will be part of two important sessions at the 2017 AAEA Annual Meeting in Chicago, July 30-August 1, at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile:

  • “Washington Policy Update”: Monday, July 31, at 10:00 a.m.
  • “Risk Management Programs and the Next Farm Bill”: Tuesday, August 1 at 1:15 p.m.

Both sessions will feature United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Chief Economist Robert C. Johansson giving his perspective on what is happening with ag-related policies inside the Beltway.

If you are interested in attending these sessions, or setting up an interview, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
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