June 29, 2018 UPDATE ON THE 2018 FARM BILL
Today, the U.S. Senate approved its version of the 2018 Farm Bill on a vote of 86-11, with the few nay votes coming from Republican senators.
Congress has adjourned for the July 4th recess but expect the bill to move to a conference committee shortly after it returns to work on July 9.
John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association, lauded the vote. He also noted the Senate bill offers growers the choice between the Price Loss Program and the county-level Agricultural Risk Coverage program.
While Heisdorffer would like to see funding for market development increased, he was pleased that “funding for Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP) remains intact and is protected by consolidating those two programs under one export promotion umbrella”.
There still are outstanding issues to resolve between the Senate and the House. Specifically, the House version makes reforms to the SNAP (food stamp) program while the Senate version does not. And the Senate version reduces Title 1 program payment eligibility from $900,000 to $700,000.
Finally, the House version increases the acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program from 24 million to 29 million (while the Senate moves it to 25 million acres). What’s more, the House bill does away with the Conservation Stewardship Program.
Stay tuned for more developments as the 2018 Farm Bill moves to its next phase in conference committee.
ORIGINAL POST June 21
Today, the House of Representatives passed its version of a new farm bill on a 213-211 vote.
The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 would replace the current Agricultural Act of 2014 which expires at the end of September. This comes after weeks of sometimes heated negotiations over differences about nutrition support programs and immigration policy.
ASA Applauds Congressional Efforts
American Soybean Association (ASA) President John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmer from Keota, Iowa, applauded the action 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.”
Further, Heisdorffer called on the Senate “to follow suit and pass its version of this legislation 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.”
Stay tuned to Badgerbean as this story develops.