WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The 2018 farm bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives 369-47, after it passed the U.S. Senate earlier this week, 87-13. The below statements have been released by national farm organizations and leaders following this announcement.
Statement of Secretary Perdue on Passage of the Farm Bill
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today hailed the passage of the 2019 Farm Bill. The House of Representatives approved the conference report on the bill this afternoon, following the Senate’s passage yesterday.
Perdue issued the following statement:
“The passage of the 2019 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords. This Farm Bill will help producers make decisions about the future, while also investing in important agricultural research and supporting trade programs to bolster exports. While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities. I commend Congress for bringing the Farm Bill across the finish line and am encouraging President Trump to sign it.”
–U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
Farm Bill Passage Brings Farmers, Ranchers Added Certainty
The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall:
“Today’s passage of the 2018 farm bill by the House of Representatives, and the Senate’s approval yesterday, is welcome news to America’s farmers and ranchers and the consumers who depend on them for our food, fiber and energy crops.
“Passage means we are one signature away from renewal of risk management tools, foreign market development and environmental stewardship programs that farmers and ranchers need to survive a prolonged and painful downturn in farm income and be sustainable.
“Americans from all walks of life will benefit from this farm bill, including consumers, low-income families, seniors and military veterans.
“We eagerly await the president’s signature on this legislation and we know that Agriculture Secretary Perdue will implement it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
–American Farm Bureau
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Cheers Farm Bill Wins
Applauds Congress for moving swiftly, urges President to do the same
With less than a month left in the year, Congress has moved forward a bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill and sent it to the President’s desk for his signature. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), a coalition of over 120 farm and food-focused organizations working together to advance sustainable agriculture through federal policy and grassroots advocacy, issued the following statement in response:
“Family farmers and sustainable food and farm advocates fought hard for this farm bill, and while there are certainly some provisions with which we are disappointed, we are overall glad to see the bill moving forward and to the President’s desk,” said Juli Obudzinski, NSAC Interim-Policy Director. “By establishing permanent, mandatory funding for innovative programs like the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program, Congress has made a pledge to ensure that our nation’s next generation of farmers and ranchers have the tools and resources they need to thrive, and that our local food and farm systems can continue to flourish. We are also pleased that the bill includes permanent mandatory funding for organic research and refrains from cutting or otherwise hindering critical nutrition assistance programs like SNAP.”
“Though the bill also contains some important policy improvements to farm bill conservation programs, we remain concerned about the further funding cuts made to our nation’s only comprehensive working lands conservation program, the Conservation Stewardship Program. We are also disappointed that bipartisan efforts to close subsidy loopholes that benefit the wealthiest mega-farms were stripped from the finalbill language. By extending already abused subsidies to nieces, nephews, and cousins, Congress has thrown open the door to continued farm consolidation and small business closures. NSAC remains committed to working with our members and allies going forward to restore investments in critical conservation programs,and to once and for all close egregious subsidy loopholes.”
“Now that the legislative portion of the bill is done, we hope that the President will follow Congress’ lead and swiftly sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law. America’s farmers and families have waited long enough for this bill, which affects every aspect of their lives, livelihoods, and communities in many ways. We look forward to continuing to represent the nation’s family farmers and rural communities in the upcoming rule-making and implementation stages of the farm bill.”
–National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
NAWG Supports 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report; Urges President to Sign into Law
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) applauds the Senate and House of Representatives for their quick action and bipartisan votes on the Farm Bill conference report, and call on President Trump to sign the bill into law as quickly as possible.
“Historically low prices, trade instability, and the current weather challenges are all weighing heavily on the minds of growers,” stated NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick. “The 2018 farm bill provides the certainty they need to get through these arduous times and many of the programs within the bill can help growers stay in business.”
NAWG applauds the committee for maintaining a strong crop insurance title and supports the language allowing for producer choice between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). NAWG appreciates the Committee recognizing the importance of using consistent data in determining farm program payments, while making RMA data its primary source, and for making improvements to both ARC and PLC.
“Many producers own multi-generational farms and want our children to be able to thrive on the land more than we did,” continued Musick. “This means leaving it healthier and better than when we received it and incorporating good stewardship practices into our operations. The farm bill helps growers achieve this goal by supporting investment in conservation tools and wheat research.”
Additionally, NAWG is pleased to see that the conference report increases funding for research of Fusarium head blight to the amount of $15 million for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.
“The United States exports 50% of its wheat, making trade a vital component of the wheat industry,” continued Musick. “NAWG is pleased to see that the conference report renews funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. We also support statements made by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) on both programs and appreciate their work to make these programs successful for wheat.”
“NAWG commends the House and Senate for quickly voting on the bill and passing it out of their respective Chambers with strong bipartisan support,” concluded Musick. “We urge President Trump to support this bill and sign it into law.”
–National Association of Wheat Growers
NCGA Statement on Farm Bill Passage
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement after Congressional approval of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). The legislation passed the Senate 87-13 Tuesday and the House 369-47 today. It now goes to President Trump to be signed into law.
“The certainty of a new farm bill is very welcome news for farmers as they begin to look toward the new year. NCGA is pleased to see a return to the bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of past farm bills and we look forward to the President quickly signing the bill into law.
“To put it bluntly, the farm economy stinks. Between depressed commodity prices, record low farm incomes and tariffs and trade uncertainty, farmers are facing difficult decisions. Getting the farm bill passed, and signed into law, is one less thing they need to worry about.
“NCGA is most pleased to see the bill maintains support for a robust crop insurance program, our organization’s top priority, and strengthens the ARC-CO program through administrative improvements including a one-time program change option, an increase to the plug yield for disaster years, the use of a trend-adjusted yield factor, and a market adjustment provision for the floor price. The bill also provides increased funding for trade promotion programs that are especially important to agriculture at this time.
“On behalf of our grower members, I thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, along with members of the farm bill conference committee for seeing this process through and passing a new bill before adjourning for the year.”
–National Corn Growers Association
Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Applauds Farm Bill Passage Through Congress
H.R. 2 (115) Includes Programs Supporting Specialty Crop Industry
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), representing over 120 specialty crop organizations across the United States, released the following statement after H.R. 2 (115), the Farm Bill, was passed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives during in the final Congressional session of 2018:
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance applauds the efforts of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer along with the members of the U.S. Senate in passing the Farm Bill 87-13 on December 11, and those of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi along with the members of the U.S. House in passing the Farm Bill 369-47 on December 12.
The Alliance is pleased to see the following programs and funding allowances included in the 2018 Farm Bill:
- Enhanced funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), allowing all specialty crops to compete for the full $80 million annually for the SCRI program
- An annual trust fund of $25 million annually to maintain resources for the citrus industry for combating citrus greening
- Full $9 million annual funding of the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program, which encourages reduction of bureaucratic impediments to make the program more efficient in overcoming trade barriers
- Continued support for programs that combat invasive pests and diseases at $75 million annually, with the goal of enhancing its funding in five years by $7.5 million to fund the National Clean Plant Network
- Increased Food Insecurity Nutrition Initiative (FINI) funding levels and continued support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Continued strong funding of Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG)
- Improved access to foreign markets through increased funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) of at least $200 million annually
- Strong language in SCRI, AFRI and the newly created AGARDA program focusing on mechanization as a priority
- Reforms to the National Organic Program (NOP) operation
These programs play a critical role in the success and advancement of the specialty crop industry. It is vital for this bipartisan legislation to be signed into law by the President before the end of the year.
“Our specialty crop producers provide consumers with healthy eating options every single day,” said John Keeling, executive president and CEO of the National Potato Council. “By expanding the consumption of fruits and vegetables, bolstering research and pest management and supporting grower initiatives to improve competitiveness, we are feeding our country and the world.”
“We appreciate the bipartisan support of lawmakers and the leadership of the House and Senate agriculture committees in moving this important legislation across the finish line in Congress,” said Mike Stuart, chief executive officer of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. “This bill is good news for consumers as well as specialty crop producers. It invests in programs to ensure schoolchildren are eating nutritious produce. It also will help specialty crop agriculture fight plant pests and diseases such as citrus greening. And it bolsters programs that helps us expand markets for our crops.”
“The Alliance is grateful for the overwhelming support of specialty crops in the Farm Bill and for Congress continued commitment to policies that are tremendously important to the industry,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers Association. “We strongly urge the President to recognize the value Congress sees in these crucial programs, and sign H.R. 2 into law by the end of the 2018 session.”
–Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance
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