NAPA, CALIF. — Members of Congress speaking in person and virtually at the International Sweetener Symposium on Aug. 7 expressed doubt as to whether the 2023 farm bill would be passed this year.

“It’s going to be a challenge to provide a farm bill by the end of the year,” said Rep. Jim Costa of California, a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Instead, he expects a continuing resolution on the matter until the end of the year, considering Congress also has to pass a budget during that time. He noted that many members of Congress needed to be educated on the farm bill process since more than half of the House of Representatives have four years or less experience (and thus haven’t passed a farm bill before), and more than half of the House Agriculture Committee has less than eight months experience.

Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida, also a member of the House Agriculture Committee, told attendees the passage of the farm bill would be a “dog fight.”

“Will it be (passed) this year?” Cammack asked. “I don’t know. It’s not going to be about policy; it’s going to be about politics. We’ve got one shot every five years to hold together the most critical industry in the US. We have to talk about how food security is national security.”

The farm bill contains the sugar program that sets limits on domestic sugar marketings and imports, among other things.