American Farm Bureau Federation:
The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“The 2018 Farm Bill is ready for debate and amendments a mere six days after its introduction. A vote by the full House of Representatives is expected to soon follow. This is great news for farmers and ranchers everywhere. H.R. 2 – The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 – takes us one step closer to bringing certainty to families who face the toughest farm economy in more than a decade.
Alabama Farmers Federation:
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture today passed its version of the farm bill on a 26-20 party line vote.
The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 would reauthorize farm programs and direct the nation’s agricultural policy for five years. The bill, introduced last week, has been praised by farm groups for preserving a safety net for farmers while enhancing conservation and bringing greater accountability to nutrition spending.
Alabama Farmers Federation National Affairs Director Mitt Walker said today’s vote represents the first hurdle in a lengthy process.
“We are pleased to see the farm bill move forward and encourage Congress to finalize it this year so farmers can have confidence as they plan for the future,” Walker said. “We appreciate Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, listening to Alabama farmers and representing their interests on the Committee.”
The Federation’s farm bill advisory committee met Monday via teleconference and reviewed major provisions of the legislation. They agreed to write House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and express support for the the Committee’s consideration of the bill.
“We view this bill as the first step to ensuring the continuation of fiscally sound and effective farm policy for our members,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “The Federation stands ready to work with Chairman Conaway in passing a farm bill that provides meaningful and effective programs for American farmers and consumers.”
More than a dozen non-controversial amendments were accepted by Conaway. The committee also voted to accept two new provisions including one that supporters said would restore the integrity of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would prohibit states from imposing agricultural standards on products from other states. It would nullify California Proposition 2 adopted in 2008, which banned the sale of eggs produced in cages. Alabama and other states have sued California over the law.
A second amendment would prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.
For more information on the farm bill, including fact sheets, a summary and the full text of the legislation, visit https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/.
American Soybean Association:
The American Soybean Association (ASA) continues to follow efforts to pass a new farm bill in the House of Representatives, and noted passage of legislation today by the House Committee on Agriculture. ASA strongly supports enacting a new farm bill before the current Agricultural Act of 2014 expires at the end of September. ASA President John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmer from Keota, Iowa, issued the following statement.
“ASA continues to support completing the farm bill process as soon as possible this year to provide the long-term certainty farmers and ranchers need in the face of low farm prices and the volatile outlook for agricultural trade. After today’s Committee action, we hope sufficient votes can be found to pass a bill on the House floor in the coming weeks. However, we are concerned by the absence of bipartisan support for the current bill, and encourage the House and Committee leadership to work toward legislation that can receive the broad support that farm bills traditionally require.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association:
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s markup and approval of the 2018 Farm Bill:
“We want to thank Chairman Mike Conaway and the other members of the House Agriculture Committee who have worked so hard to craft this Farm Bill and to ensure that it protects the priorities of America’s cattle producers. We’ll continue to work through the Farm Bill process to make sure that it includes authorization and full funding for a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, as well as funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), research, foreign market development, and market access programs.”
National Corn Growers Association:
The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s House Agriculture Committee approval of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.
“The House Agriculture Committee’s action today is the first step to enacting a new farm bill. NCGA is pleased the bill restores full funding to the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs and makes administrative reforms to the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage Program (ARC), which are welcome provisions for corn farmers facing uncertain times. NCGA also appreciates the bill’s expansion of grower participation in working lands conservation programs and the research title’s funding for the phenotyping initiative.
“Moving forward, NCGA will remain focused on our growers’ top policy concerns – a robust federal crop insurance program, ensuring the ARC-county program is a viable risk management option, and increased resources for trade promotion programs.
“We urge the House to pass a farm bill that strengthens risk management tools and provides the needed resources to enhance U.S. farmers and ranchers’ competitive position in international markets. NCGA looks forward to working with members of both the House and Senate to build a strong, bipartisan coalition that can support the entire farm bill and see it signed into law this year.”
National Milk Producers Federation:
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today lauded the House Agriculture Committee for approving a draft of the 2018 Farm Bill that contains key dairy policy improvements, a significant first step toward enacting a new Farm Bill before the current one expires this fall.
Among the provisions of significance to the U.S. dairy industry in the House bill are additional improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP). The measure raises the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt. and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured; both measures will offer greater flexibility for dairy producers. It also includes provisions of an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management.
“It’s important that the Farm Bill process continue moving forward,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “As U.S. dairy farmers weather a fourth-straight year of depressed milk prices, making additional improvements to the dairy safety net through this farm bill becomes more critical with each passing day.”
The House bill also addresses several other NMPF priorities. The conservation title helps producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water. Under the trade title, the Farm Bill authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. The bill also includes helpful provisions intended to increase fluid milk consumption. NMPF looks forward to working with Congress on these issues as the process continues.
In a letter sent to Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) before the committee’s markup, NMPF expressed gratitude for the members’ engagement and efforts in securing the aforementioned NMPF proposals, and others, in the House bill.
“We recognize that the process of completing each Farm Bill is long and complex, with many twists and turns in the road,” said the letter. “As the process continues, we look forward to continuing to work with you and your Senate counterparts to complete work on a bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by the President before the current law expires.”
National Pork Producers Council:
“We look forward to working with members of both the House and Senate to complete work on a bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by the president before the current law expires.”
The House Committee on Agriculture today approved the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2), which includes several provisions important to U.S. pork producers. The 2018 Farm Bill is strongly supported by the National Pork Producers Council.
Among the provisions included in the legislation is language establishing and funding a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak in the United States of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in livestock.
FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although it was last detected in the United States in 1929, the disease is endemic in many parts of the world.
“Pork producers are pleased that the Agriculture Committee approved the 2018 Farm Bill,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “We now need the full House to pass it soon and the Senate to follow suit. There are several very important provisions for pork producers in this legislation.”
The agriculture panel’s Farm Bill calls for first-year mandatory funding of $150 million for the FMD vaccine bank, $70 million in block grants to the states for disease prevention and $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides disease diagnostic support. For the other years of the 5-year Farm Bill, there’s $30 million in mandatory funding for state block grants and $20 million to be used at the Agriculture secretary’s discretion for the vaccine bank, the NAHLN and the states.
NPPC is urging lawmakers to provide funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million for state block grants and $30 million for the NAHLN for each year of the Farm Bill.
“The United States is not prepared for an FMD outbreak, so we are urging Congress to provide the full five-year mandatory funding,” Heimerl said. “We need this to protect the country from the financial devastation this dreadful disease would wreak on farmers and the U.S. economy.”
The House bill also includes funding for the NPPC-supported Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program, both of which help support exports markets for U.S. goods. The programs are consolidated as the International Market Development Program.
Additionally, the measure has money for feral swine eradication. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are an estimated 5 million feral swine in at least 39 states; the cost of controlling them and the amount of damage they do is about $1.5 billion annually.
Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance:
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 120 organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, has issued the following statement related to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s passage of the Farm Bill, H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, by a vote of 26-20:
“The SCFBA appreciates House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway for recognizing the importance of specialty crops in this initial legislation, which includes baseline funding of specialty crop programs included in the 2014 Farm Bill. However, the Alliance urges the House to enhance the bill by increasing the investment in specialty crop priorities — such as fully funding the TASC program, increasing funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and the Alliance’s policy recommendations throughout the bill. Specialty crop priorities are focused on programs that support a healthier America while serving as a major economic engine for the nation. Our industry is responsible for $66 billion in farm gate value and 33 percent of farm cash receipts for crops,” said Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President, United Fresh Produce Association.