The House of Representatives followed through with passage of the farm bill Wednesday, sending the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 to President Trump for signature. House members voted 369 to 47 in favor of the bill. Of the votes against the bill, 44 were Republicans and just three were Democrats. The action followed Tuesday’s passage in the Senate, 87 to 13. The long-awaited five-year farm bill replaces the expired 2014 farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, says the bill “sets us on a better path – for producers, for rural communities and American consumers.”
The House action met obvious fanfare from the agriculture community. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, whose department will be charged with implementing the bill once signed, said there were “missed opportunities” in forest management and work requirement for certain SNAP recipients, but adds the bill does provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, “who need the dependability and certainty” from Washington.
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp issued the following statement:
“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.”