WASHINGTON – The American Bakers Association during meetings on Capitol Hill on July 12 about the farm fill identified four priorities that should be addressed in the 2023 legislation.

First, the ABA asked Congress to modernize the US sugar program so the US Department of Agriculture may better respond to changing market demands. Second, Congress should retain the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program choice for recipients.

The ABA also asked Congress to increase wheat production to meet domestic and global demand through sustainable opportunities, creating tools such as expanding the definition of cover crops to allow for harvested food use and keeping the Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap steady. Finally, Congress in the farm bill should maintain a strong USDA research infrastructure, emphasizing strong wheat quality research to keep America competitive globally.

ABA members took part in 13 meetings during the day that included federal agency officials and members of Congress.

“For the 2023 farm bill, it has been especially important to drive our industry’s priorities in partnership with a broader group of DC-based associations,” said Lee Sanders, senior vice president, government relations and public affairs for the ABA. “That said, our biggest partners are our members. Our members can illustrate with real-life examples how farm bill policies impact day-to-day decisions. ABA ensures industry stories are heard by the policy influencers who craft provisions in the farm bill.”

Every five years Congress passes legislation that sets national commodity, trade, nutrition programs, energy and research policy. The most recent farm bill was known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“It’s because of ABA’s constant policy efforts in DC that we as members are able to come in and have efficient, impactful discussions with policymakers on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies,” said Hayden Wands, vice president of global procurement, commodities for Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV. "ABA’s expertise in helping bakers and suppliers connect the dots between policy and practicality makes advocacy approachable and effective for those of us who don’t do these sorts of meetings every day.

“We are confident with ABA in our corner, we can make a difference in helping lawmakers understand the farm bill's impacts on the wholesale baking industry.”