Some of the billions in farm bill funds could flow to lawmakers writing the bill


Members of Congress say they want to help small farmers. In some cases, that includes themselves.

About two dozen members of Congress are also farmers, a profession long revered in American culture and politics. But as lawmakers prepare to dole out hundreds of billions of dollars in agricultural subsidies in the 2023 farm bill, government watchdogs warn that being a farmer could also present a conflict of interest — particularly for those members of Congress who take government subsidies, as multiple lawmakers who sit on the House committee that writes the farm bill do.

Unlike lawmakers’ stock trading, which some members have pushed to ban, the agricultural incentives have received little scrutiny from colleagues on Capitol Hill — something one watchdog group chalks up to farmers’ political cachet.