Skip to content
May 29, 2024

Five Ways the 2024 Election Could Impact Farm Policy

With the 2024 election on the horizon, farm policy is finding itself once again at the center of the discussion. 

Not only is 2024 an election year, but after a farm bill extension was passed in 2023, it also became a big year for farm policy as well. As the presidential election nears, it’s more important than ever for rural landowners to know what farm policies are being proposed and how they could impact their agribusiness and the farm community. 

In this article, we explain upcoming farm policy updates, what farmers are saying about it, and how the presidential election could shape its future.  

1. Farm Bill 

After failing to meet the deadline in September 2023, Congress passed a year-long extension, allowing the 2018 farm bill to continue through September 2024. Although some members of Congress expressed optimism that the bill would be passed in December of 2023, we have yet to see promising movement—until recently.  

In May 2024, House Republicans released a $1.5 billion proposal that sparked backlash on both sides of the aisle, mostly due to disagreements regarding nutrition spending and crop insurance reform. “The farm bill is a safety net for our families and the farmers who feed, fuel, and clothe us. Unfortunately, the bill that’s been proposed by Agriculture Committee Chairman Thompson fails the Heartland in both of these critical missions,” said Nikki Budzinski, an Illinois Representative.  

On the Senate side, Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow revealed a competing framework ahead of the House bill’s release, stating that her bill was a “serious proposal that reflects bipartisan priorities.” 

Industry leaders and lawmakers are watching the clock closely as Congress deliberates over the proposed farm bill policies. Many groups like the Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) believe reaching a consensus before the election is critical. “During a presidential election year, there are fewer legislative days,” said Brantley Seifers, INFB national affairs director. All House members and much of the Senate will be up for re-election, and the fear of the farm bill being trapped in the “lame-duck session” is growing.  

“If they don’t pass a farm bill in the second quarter of 2024, who knows when they’re going to get around to it?” Seifers said. “You just don’t know who you’ll be dealing with.” 


The Federal Agriculture Risk Management Enhancement and Resilience (FARMER) Act aims to increase crop insurance and provide additional protections under the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). One of the main bottlenecks for the farm bill has been disagreements over crop insurance—and how much funding should be allocated toward it.  

Opponents of increased crop insurance have long maintained that it drains taxpayers while benefiting large corporations and leaving more diversified family farm operations with nothing.  

“Both of the FARMER Act’s proposed changes to crop insurance would drive up taxpayer costs for an already expensive program. The program currently costs billions of dollars each year yet mostly benefits the largest and wealthiest farms, which do not need more taxpayer support,” said Anne Schechinger, EWG’s Midwest director. 

Supporters of expanded crop insurance argue it’s a necessary tool that keeps farms afloat in hard seasons. “Crop insurance is the farmer’s number one tool to deal with climate and weather uncertainty,” said Tom Zacharias, National Crop Insurance Services president. 

Without crop insurance, supporters worry our food supply may be at risk. Senator John Hoeven explained: “Our farmers and ranchers produce the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world and every American benefits from that every single day. It’s brought to us by our farmers and ranchers. Americans spend less of their budget than any other developed country on their food and they have better food and a better choice. It’s national security—we don’t have to worry about food security.” 

3. SOLAR Act

Outside of the farm bill, several other proposed legislations are in the works. For example, Illinois Congressman Mike Bost introduced the Securing Our Lands and Resources (SOLAR) Act to protect prime farmland as solar installation rapidly increases in popularity. With the rise of solar energy installation nationwide, concern over protecting agriculturally productive land is growing. In fact, a 2022 study found 83 percent of new solar projects are installed on farmland and ranchlands, with almost 50 percent placed on the most productive, versatile, and resilient land. 

Some legislators, like Bost, are concerned that this transition to solar will eliminate more of America’s precious farmland. Others, like a specialty crop farmer in California, argue that solar has become a crucial source of income for farmers and ranchers across the nation, with some estimating landowners could earn $1,200 per acre annually by converting to solar. 

4. Ransomware and Cybersecurity 

The U.S. food and agriculture sector dealt with at least 167 ransomware attacks in 2023, but this is nothing new—ransomware attacks have been plaguing the sector for some time. Most notably, the sector was hit with the fourth-largest ransomware attack in history back in 2021, when JBS Foods was forced to pay out an $11 million ransom, and the loss of business caused a meat shortage in a large portion of the Western United States.  

“One could ‘lose the farm’ because of an unforeseen cyberattack,” said Steve Cubbage, precision ag consultant for Farmobile. “If you are a farmer who has connected data to the ‘cloud,’ or the CEO of a co-op, you are a target, and this threat is not going away.” 

Ransomware attacks are a growing concern, as they have the potential to disrupt agricultural production. This concern has prompted several new bills to help battle the threat.  

The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act

Bipartisan legislation released back in January attempts to address the cybersecurity concerns of our U.S. food system. The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act aims to strengthen cybersecurity in the agriculture and food sectors by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of cyber threats every two years and run practice drills every year with help from other agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence. This will help these sectors be more aware of potential threats, fix security weaknesses, and respond better to incidents like ransomware attacks. 

Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act

The Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act aims to establish a hub that aids farmers in procuring new technology to protect their operations from hackers.  

Cybersecurity for Rural Water Systems Act

The Cybersecurity for Rural Water Systems Act aims to expand existing programs that manage cybersecurity for small water and wastewater utilities. 

5. TikTok Ban

Lastly, many farmers leveraging TikTok to market their businesses are paying close attention to the recently passed TikTok ban. This bill was included as part of a larger $95 billion package that provided foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel.  

TikTok has grown in popularity amongst many young farmers and homesteaders, promoting rural lifestyles and encouraging more young people to seek careers in agriculture. The ban has the potential to deprive these influencers of their platforms. Not only that, but it could potentially deprive farmers of an important online community.  

““I’ve seen times where farmers will post a video with a problem, like some piece of equipment that they’re not sure how to fix, asking for help. And you’ll see the comment section is just filled,” said Joshua Westerfeld, a cattle farmer and TikTok creator with more than 185K followers.  

One cattle farmer, Brian Firebaugh, is suing to ensure TikTok stays in business. “It’s 100 percent of my customer base,” Firebaugh explained, “When you talk about pulling this out, you’re pulling away 100 percent of my customer base.”  

The battle is expected to have real repercussions as different groups attempt to find a middle ground between national security and free speech.  

Stay Informed on the Latest Farm Policy Updates

Farm policy is ever-changing, and as we edge closer to the election, it is vital for farmers to stay informed on policies that may impact their way of life. AgAmerica provides bipartisan farm-focused news in our bimonthly newsletter. Subscribe to stay informed and prepared.  

Logo for a site footer of a social opportunity lender.

AgAmerica Lending® LLC is a licensed mortgage lender. NMLS ID# 372267
Copyright AgAmerica® LLC 2024. All Rights Reserved.