Omnibus Clears Senate- Ready for President to Sign- Includes Key Policy Isues for Farmers and RanchersFri, 23 Mar 2018 03:28:22 CDT
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today is pleased to announce the inclusion of several key provisions beneficial to agriculture in the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which extends government funding through Sept. 30. The bill passed the Senate on a 65-32 vote and is awaiting the President’s signature.
“I’m pleased that Congress reached a bipartisan deal to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year,” said Chairman Roberts. “We were able to give farmers and ranchers some regulatory relief, as well as ensure funds for wildfire suppression.”
The bill includes the following provisions related to agriculture and forestry:
FARM Act: The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act exempts air emissions from animal waste from being subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) reporting requirements. Farmers and ranchers were never intended to be subject to this requirement, and without Congressional action, livestock and poultry farms with roughly 200 head of cattle or a pig farm with two swine finishing barns would potentially be subject to the reporting requirement. Read more here.
Animal Transport: The omnibus prohibits funding to implement regulations requiring livestock haulers to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) on their trucks to monitor time spent driving. This temporary exemption will allow the livestock industry more time to work with the Department of Transportation to address the unique challenges facing livestock haulers. The livestock sector has been concerned for the welfare of their animals, exposure to potential disease threats, and costs to the industry that will come about should they be required to abide by the ELD regulations.
Wildfire: The omnibus provides a solution to address the U.S. Forest Service budget for wildfire suppression and ends the practice of “fire-borrowing,” which establishes a fund of more than $2 billion a year, which would increase modestly over a 10-year period. Access to the fund would become available when the cost of wildfires exceeds the 10-year average cost of wildfires, which would be set at the 2015 level. The funding fix will not take effect until FY2020 meaning current law would remain in effect through FY2019.
PRIA: Includes extension of current law of Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) through September 30, 2018. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing and passed a 3-year PRIA reauthorization. Chairman Roberts will continue to work with Senate colleagues to get PRIA across the finish line.
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