US House of Representatives Pass Farm Bill to Agriculture Industry's Delight in Tight 213 - 211 VoteThu, 21 Jun 2018 16:13:01 CDT
Today the House passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), critical legislation to address the economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making significant investments in opportunities for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Upon passage, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the following remarks:
“Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work. It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up. I’m proud of what this body has accomplished, and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”
Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statement as well:
“The partisan approach of the Majority has produced a bill that simply doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve. It still leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable, it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities. The only upside to its passage is that we’re one step closer to conference, where it’s my hope that cooler heads can and will prevail. The Senate’s version isn’t perfect, but it avoids the hardline partisan approach that House Republicans have taken here today, and if it passes, I look forward to working with conferees to produce a conference report both parties can support, which is the only way to get a farm bill enacted into law.”
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, congratulated Chairman Conaway after the House voted to pass H.R.2, stating:
“I congratulate Chairman Conaway on successfully navigating his Farm Bill through the House,” Roberts said. “I look forward to working with him and his colleagues in conference once the Senate passes our Farm Bill. Our farmers and ranchers need certainty and predictability. They are counting on us.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue echoed Roberts' comments, remarking in his statement:
“I applaud Chairman Conaway and the House Agriculture Committee for their diligence and hard work in passing their 2018 Farm Bill through the House of Representatives. American producers have greatly benefited from the policies of the Trump Administration, including tax reforms and reductions in regulations, however a Farm Bill is still critically important to give the agriculture community some much-needed reassurance. No doubt, there is still much work to be done on this legislation in both chambers of Congress, and USDA stands ready to assist with whatever counsel lawmakers may request or require.”
These statements were followed by a deluge of industry reactions, beginning with the American Farm Bureau that issued a statement from AFBF President Zippy Duvall:
“Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America’s farmers and ranchers. Our grassroots Farm Bureau members clearly made their voices heard. By approving the 2018 Farm Bill today, members of the House recognized the serious economic challenges facing farmers and ranchers across the country.
“As crafted by Chairman Conaway, this bill recognizes what is working well, but it also makes much-needed improvements in risk management and crop insurance programs at a time when farm-income levels have slumped to decade lows. This would not have been possible had it not been for Speaker Ryan making the farm bill a congressional priority, and for all the hard work invested in the process by Chairman Conaway and other members of the House Agriculture Committee.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Senate Agriculture Committee leaders Roberts and Stabenow as they move forward. The Senate bill also addresses the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing today. We will also continue to focus our attention on other areas important to farmers, such as finding a solution for the very serious ag labor shortage, increasing market opportunities through trade and cutting the burdens of regulations that have piled up during previous administrations.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester stated that, "Today’s vote means that American cattlemen and women are one step closer to having the certainty they need to continue running their operations and contributing to rural economies. We are glad the House-passed bill addresses a number of priorities for producers, including authorization and funding for a national vaccine bank that prioritizes Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) prevention. The bill also strengthens conservation programs and improves USDA’s foreign market development activities. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and all those who voted ‘yes’ deserve a great deal of thanks for their support.”
National Association of Wheat Growers President Jimmie Musick of Sentinel, Okla. stated:
“NAWG commends the House of Representatives for working to move the Farm Bill forward and passed out of the Chamber. It’s vital for a final Farm Bill to be reauthorized before the September 30th deadline, so that farmers can have access to these beneficial programs.
“Crop insurance is a unique risk management tool available for farmers and ranchers. NAWG continues to advocate for a strong crop insurance program and continued choice between ARC and PLC in the final version of the bill.
“NAWG continues working to ensure that a final Farm Bill includes provisions that provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt conservation practices into their operations. We also support continued reauthorization of the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and other important research programs which could lead to innovative technologies to help growers combat pests, disease, and even drought.
“Additionally, NAWG is pleased that the legislation includes funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program and will continue to advocate for increased resources for both.
“We hope to see similar movement in the full Senate soon and will continue to work with members once both bills go to conference.”
His remarks were followed by a release from the National Corn Growers Association:
“Today’s vote is a big step forward to seeing a new farm bill this year. The House farm bill maintains a robust crop insurance program, ensuring it continues to be a viable risk management tool for farmers across the country.
“Now we will be looking toward the U.S. Senate and possible efforts to further strengthen the farm safety net, making it more equitable for our nation’s corn growers, as they bring the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.”
American Soybean Association (ASA) President John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmers from Keota, Iowa, applauded the successful effort to reconsider the House bill, saying, “Farmers need the long-term certainty and stability that passing a new five-year farm bill will provide. Right now, the economic future of our industry is clouded by low crop prices and farm income, and by volatility in foreign markets. We call on the Senate to follow suit and pass its version of the farm bill next week so Congress can complete the 2018 farm bill in July.”
Heisdorffer added that, “With key programs including crop insurance, farm support programs, and export promotion funding for market development programs on the table, ASA urges Congressional leaders to continue pushing forward for final approval.”
The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives also applauded the bill's passage stating, "We look forward to the Senate taking up its version of the bill in the very near future. Assuming Senate approval of its measure, we urge both chambers to move quickly to a conference committee to work out differences in a bipartisan fashion. America’s farmers and ranchers deserve the certainty that a new farm bill will provide ahead of the expiration of current law on September 30.”
Lastly, the National Cotton Council (NCC) address its strong support for the farm policy provisions in the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) and issued a statement saying it believes today’s House passage of the bill is an extremely important and strong step toward providing much needed stability to the U.S. cotton industry.
NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner, said, “our industry is tremendously grateful for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s (R-TX) leadership in the development of this legislation and getting it to a successful vote in the House.”
He said the industry also appreciates the strong support from Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and the many Cotton Belt Representatives in helping to get this farm legislation through the House without damaging amendments such as those that would compromise crop insurance and impose stricter payment limits and eligibility provisions.
“Without strong commodity and crop insurance policies underpinning U.S. agriculture,” Craft stated, “lenders would be reluctant to provide financing to an industry operating at the mercy of weather extremes and volatile global market prices.”
Craft said this farm bill not only can help cotton producers obtain the financing necessary for capital investments and annual crop production but can support a healthy and thriving rural economy that includes cotton gins, warehouses, marketing coops and merchants to market the crop, cottonseed handlers, and textile manufacturers – and the businesses that support them.
“The NCC is continuing to work with the Senate to reverse the harmful changes made to cotton policy during last week’s Senate Agriculture Committee consideration of its farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” Craft said.
The full Senate may consider its farm bill the week of June 25.
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