Statement of Secretary Perdue
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue 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.
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.”
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries
Farm Bill Passes U.S. House and Senate
The 2018 Agriculture and Nutrition Act, better known as the Farm Bill, passed the U.S. House and Senate. The bill covers agriculture subsidies, conservation, rural development and nutrition.
The Farm Bill reauthorizes farm programs and directs the nation’s agricultural policy for the next five years. The bill originally introduced in May 2018, had failed to pass.
The current legislation has been praised by farm groups for preserving safety nets for farmers while enhancing conservation and increasing USDA loan availability. One thing the bill doesn’t have is tighter work requirements for food stamp recipients, which was the sticking point during negotiations.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan explained that the farm bill protects more than just farmers. It serves to protect land and natural resources, develops new trade opportunities, levels the playing field for producers, strengthens rural communities and provides nutritious foods for underserved families.
“Alabama is blessed to have a congressional delegation in Washington that understands the importance of agriculture,” said McMillan. “Our nation’s food security depends on strong agricultural policies that provide stability for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
The bill passed the House with a 369-47 vote and passed the Senate with an 87-13 vote. The entire Alabama congressional delegation voted in favor. The bill now goes to President Trump for signature.
With the President’s signature, this will be the first time since 1990 that Congress has enacted the Farm Bill in the same year it was introduced. It would also be the first time since 2002, that the new Farm Bill was enacted in the same year that the old one expired.
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Commends Passage of Farm Bill
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black issued the following statement on the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill.
“I commend the Administration and Congress for coming to an agreement before the new year regarding this important piece of the puzzle for our farmers. Given all the variables that our farmers must deal with on a daily basis, it is imperative that they have the certainty of clear and steady farm policies. This farm bill will do just that by equipping our farm families, lending institutions and rural communities to plan for the future.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
NCBA Hails Congressional Approval of 2018 Farm Bill
Bill Provides Much-Needed Certainty, Group Says
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement regarding U.S. House and Senate passage of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report:
“America’s cattlemen and women want common sense and certainty from Congress this holiday season and throughout the year – today they received that through the passage of the Farm Bill. Certainty that a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank will be authorized and funded. Certainty that important conservation programs will be reauthorized and funded. And certainty that trade promotion and access to foreign markets will remain a priority in the years to come.
“On behalf of all of our producers, I want to sincerely thank every Member of Congress who supported the Farm Bill – especially U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, who all worked together across party lines for the past two-plus years. It wasn’t always easy, but we truly appreciate all your hard work.”
National Milk Producers Federation
NMPF Thanks Congress for Sending Pro-Dairy Farm Bill to White House, Urges President to Sign
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for completing congressional approval of a new farm bill and sending to the White House a law that will provide important economic assistance to dairy producers in times of need. NMPF urged President Donald Trump to immediately sign the bill.
“The farm bill passed by the full Congress represents a truly bipartisan spirit and offers genuine hope for agriculture,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The dairy provisions adopted by Congress will bring critically important assistance to the nation’s dairy farmers. The sooner the president signs the bill, the sooner that the Agriculture Department can implement these important policy improvements.”
The farm bill’s adoption by the House follows yesterday’s Senate vote of approval and reflects months of work in both chambers.
Among House members, Reps. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, worked tirelessly to reach a final agreement. In addition, NMPF thanked several members of the conference committee who advocated strongly for dairy, including Vice Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Tim Walz (D-MN). NMPF also appreciates the advocacy of Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Joe Courtney (D-CT), John Faso (R-NY), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Mike Bost (R-IL) on specific provisions included in the bill.
The farm bill features several important policy reforms for dairy, including:
- Affordable higher coverage levels in the Dairy Margin Coverage program (DMC) (renamed from the Margin Protection Program) will permit all dairy producers to insure margins above $8.00 on their Tier I (first five million pounds) production history.
- The bill will reduce the cost of $5.00 margin coverage by roughly 88 percent. This aids larger producers and is critically important in times of catastrophically low milk prices.
- Greater flexibility to allow producers of all sizes to access Tier I premium rates.
- Expanded access to additional risk management tools, allowing producers to participate in both the DMC and the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program.
- An option that will allow producers to receive a 25-percent discount on their premiums if they lock in their coverage level for the entirety of the bill.
Collaborative work across the dairy sector was instrumental in securing this year’s pro-dairy bill, Mulhern said. NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) forged an unprecedented industry consensus during discussions of the bill dating to last year. The final bill includes an agreement reached between the two organizations on risk management that will help producers, cooperatives and processors to better hedge price risk.
“IDFA worked closely with colleagues at NMPF to unite behind shared solutions for dairy,” said Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of IDFA. “Members of Congress have called our collaborative efforts historic, refreshing and, best of all, exceedingly helpful to their farm bill efforts. The dairy provisions included in the bill represent the positive outcomes we can gain through sustained industry collaboration.”
“Dairy works best when it works together,” Mulhern said. “Congress noticed. Hard work and cooperation among NMPF, IDFA, member co-ops, state associations and the entire dairy community helped craft a bill that will benefit us all.”
For more details on the new law’s benefits to dairy, see this letter sent to Congress by NMPF urging the farm bill’s adoption.
American Farm Bureau Federation
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.”
Georgia Peanut Commission/Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
Peanut farmers praise Senate and House for passage of 2018 Farm Bill
Bill provides stability for peanut industry
Members of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation are appreciative of the work of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in passing The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The U.S. Senate passed the report 87 to 13 on Tuesday and the U.S. House of Representatives followed today with a vote of 369 to 47. The legislation is now headed to the White House for President Trump’s signature.
“We are glad to see that the bill has passed the House and Senate. This is a solid farm bill for all segments of the peanut industry and it provides stability to growers planning for the 2019 crop and beyond,” says Armond Morris, a Georgia peanut farmer and chairman of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and Georgia Peanut Commission. “The Conference Committee leadership has worked well together and has delivered this important legislation to the President, and we really appreciate their hard work.”
Chairman Morris continues, “We are also very appreciative of the hard work on the Conference Committee of Congressmen from the Southeast including Austin Scott, David Scott, Rick Allen, Mike Rogers, Neal Dunn and Ted Yoho to preserve the peanut provisions within the farm bill. All of these supporters serve on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.”
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation is very pleased with the peanut provisions of the farm bill passed by Congress. The production of peanuts alone contributes approximately $3 billion to the Southeastern economy. This includes thousands of jobs in many rural counties across the Southeast.
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association. For more information visit southernpeanutfarmers.org.
Alabama Farmers Federation
Farm Bill Passage Provides Certainty for Farmers
Final passage of a five-year farm bill by Congress today was welcome news for Alabama farmers eager to prepare for the 2019 crop year.
The House of Representatives approved the bipartisan legislation by a 369-47 vote, following Senate passage on Tuesday by an 87-13 vote. President Donald J. Trump has indicated he will sign the measure into law.
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said the farm bill makes significant improvements in federal farm programs.
“While no farm bill is perfect, this legislation addresses many concerns expressed by our members,” Parnell said. “It gives farmers greater flexibility in choosing programs to fit their individual businesses and allows prices and yields to be adjusted based on global markets and production history. We appreciate Congress and the Trump administration getting a farm bill approved so farmers can have certainty going into next year.”
Dubbed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the budget-neutral farm bill governs spending for a variety of federal programs including conservation, nutrition, crop insurance, agricultural research, forestry and foreign trade development.
Provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill
- Reference prices in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program may increase up to 115 percent based on market prices and are incorporated in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program calculation. PLC yields may be voluntarily updated in 2020. Farmers will have the option to choose between ARC and PLC on a crop?by?crop and farm?by?farm basis in 2019 and annually beginning in 2021.
- Marketing loan rates increase by varying amounts. The rate for soybeans rises 24 percent to $6.20 a bushel. For corn, the loan rate increases to $2.20 per bushel, up from $1.95. The wheat loan rate changes from $2.94 per bushel to $3.38. Payment limits on marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments are eliminated in the 2018 bill.
- Payment limitations remain unchanged, and the family definition is amended to allow nieces, nephews and cousins in family farm operations to participate in programs.
- Conservation programs are retained. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage cap increases to 27 million acres, but rental rates and incentive payments are reduced to limit government competition with farmers who lease land.
- $75 million is approved for feral swine control.
- Crop insurance is preserved, as are existing disaster programs.
Efforts to reduce Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding and restrict eligibility were not included in the final package, but authority was granted for greater accountability in the program.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said passage of the farm bill is especially important because the economic recovery in farm country has not kept pace with the rest of America.
“This 2018 farm bill is a complete package — one that will serve all Americans,” Duvall said. “Farm and ranch families in particular will find a good degree of risk management support they need to help them weather the prolonged downturn in the agricultural economy that many of us are facing. Next year, we are going to face continued challenges across farm and ranch country, and this new farm bill gives us the tools we will need to weather this ongoing storm.”
Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones voted “yes” on the farm bill, as did U.S. Reps. Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Gary Palmer and Terri Sewell.
Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with 350,000 member families.