Drought and the 2023 Farm Bill


Drought and the 2023 Farm Bill

The 2023 Farm Bill is one of the last multi-year comprehensive pieces of legislation. It sets policies and funding priorities for agriculture, conservation, nutrition, and rural development programs in the United States for the following five years after passage.

One of the major issues that will need to be addressed by this year’s Farm Bill is drought and water usage. Drought has been the quiet, steady threat to agriculture and causes significant damage to crops, pasture lands, and livestock (not to mention its impact on water for human consumption, sanitation, and fire). In the United States, particularly the Western states, drought is a frequent and unfortunately long-term occurrence and has devastating economic consequences for farmers and rural communities.

The 2023 Farm Bill can have a significant impact on drought in multiple ways. First, it should establish a National Drought Strategy like the effort in the Congress in 2004 and 2005, with the National Drought Preparedness Act introduced by the late Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida.

Second, it should ensure mandated funding to drought mitigation and response efforts. The bill should include funding for programs that provide multiyear financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who are affected by drought. This funding can help farmers maintain their operations and recover from the financial losses caused by effects of a prolonged drought. Additionally, the bill should include funding for research and development of drought-resistant crops and water strategies related to water collection and storage, which can help to reduce the impacts of drought in the future.

Third, provide mandatory funding for conservation and sustainable agriculture practices that mitigate drought. The bill includes funding for programs that promote conservation practices, such as cover crops, no-till farming, and soil and water conservation. These practices can help to reduce the impacts of drought by improving soil health and water-holding capacity. By promoting smart, drought resistant agriculture practices, the bill can help to ensure that farmers and ranchers are better equipped to withstand the short- and long-term impacts of drought.

As part of a proposed National Drought Strategy, the 2023 Farm Bill should also include provisions related to water management. The bill may provide funding for programs that help farmers to better manage their water resources, including irrigation systems, water conservation measures, water capture and storage technology and water storage infrastructure. By improving water management practices, the bill can help farmers to reduce the impacts of drought and ensure that they have access to adequate water supplies during times of drought.

To ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill has the maximum impact on drought, it is important for stakeholders to be organized and actively engaged in the creation of the bill and in its implementation. This includes farmers and ranchers, conservation organizations, water management agencies, and rural development organizations. By working together, these stakeholders can help to ensure that the drought provisions of the 2023 Farm Bill are created, appropriated, and implemented effectively that benefits farmers, rural communities, and the environment.

Like all Farm Bills, the 2023 Farm Bill will affect every citizen in this nation.  Ensuring we address the issue of drought, coupled with the climate crisis the world is experiencing, will be critical to ensure our nation’s farmers, producers, and processors, along with everyone in the supply chain, stay competitive and profitable; and our Nation can continue to enjoy the bounties of our Nations’ agriculture.  Now is the time to organize, engage and get to the business of legislating.

The Conduit Government Relations team has significant experience dealing with water issues and the Farm Bill:

Alex Rodriguez, Conduit’s CEO and head of our Water Practice, has significant experience working on California’s drought, dealing with the State Water Project, the Colorado River, and ag-to-urban water transfers, as well Environmental Justice impacts related to drought.

Scott Carter, Conduit’s President and Chief Strategy Officer, is a former head of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Office of Government Affairs and has worked on the past three Farm Bills, 2010 Healthy Hungry Free Kids Act, and helped draft H.R.1386 – National Drought Preparedness Act of 2005 that was unfortunately not enacted by Congress.


For a no-cost, no obligation consultation please send an email or call:
Alex Rodriguez                                               Scott Carter
alex@ConduitGR.com                                   scarter@ConduitGR.com
T: 805.331.7764                                              T: 571.359.1042

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