The Senate farm bill was passed by a margin of 86 to 11 on Thursday, meeting the unofficial goal of getting the bill passed before the Independence Day holiday. Many in the agriculture industry applauded the outcome.
From the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Kevin Kester, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement:
“Today’s successful Senate vote is another step forward for the Farm Bill, but much work remains to address the priorities of American cattlemen and women. While the Senate version includes permanent authorization of the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, zero dollars are provided. The Senate version also left out important changes to the Conservation Title that were included in the House version of the bill. We appreciate all the Senate’s work on behalf of cattle producers, but the House bill includes provisions of critical importance to NCBA members.”
From the National Corn Growers Association
North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement.
“Today’s vote is a welcome step to providing much-needed certainty for farmers facing increasingly challenging times.
“NCGA would like to thank Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together to get this bi-partisan bill passed and recognizing the importance and effectiveness of the farm bill’s risk management tools, including a robust federal crop insurance program.
“With the combined threat of retaliatory trade tariffs and an EPA seemingly intent on dismantling the RFS, farmers need a strong farm bill now more than ever. NCGA urges members of the House and Senate to come together quickly and find common ground to strengthen the farm safety net and adequately meet the needs of American consumers and our rural communities across our nation.”
From the National Milk Producers Federation
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today lauded passage of the Senate version of the 2018 farm bill.
NMPF thanked Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership in finalizing the measure in a timely manner, and commended Stabenow for her work to secure $100 million in additional funding for the dairy title baseline.
“Sens. Roberts and Stabenow have crafted a bipartisan farm bill that includes important dairy policy improvements at a time when many farmers are facing a very tough economic time,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We are pleased that the two chambers now have the opportunity to harmonize their versions to produce a final bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by Sept. 30.”
The Senate version of the farm bill contains enhancements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) sought by NMPF, including improved coverage levels and greater program flexibility. The bill – which renames the MPP as the “Dairy Risk Coverage” program – raises the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt. and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured. It also includes an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management. NMPF commended Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) for their efforts to strengthen dairy policy for producers of all sizes, and looks forward to continuing this work as the process continues.
The Senate bill also contains conservation provisions that will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out conservation practices on their operations. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) added a helpful amendment to give dairy farmers greater flexibility in meeting their goals under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Under the trade title, the farm bill re-authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. Mulhern said NMPF also appreciates the successful efforts of Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to include provisions in the bill that promote the consumption of fluid milk. NMPF also thanked Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for including provisions of her Dairy Business Innovation Act in the bill to help foster innovation and new opportunities for the dairy industry.
From the National Cotton Council
The National Cotton Council (NCC) will be working to ensure that final farm legislation will address the serious shortcomings of the Senate farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
One of those major concerns involves the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAAP). That program, which had been eliminated in the farm bill version voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has three years of full funding restored in the Senate’s farm bill. While that is a step in the right direction, the NCC strongly believes that it is critically important to fully restore the funding for EAAP which continues to help U.S. textile manufacturers stay competitive.
The NCC appreciates the work of Senators Isakson (R-GA), Jones (D-AL), Tillis (R-NC), Burr (R-NC) and Graham (R-SC), as well as Senate Agriculture Committee members Boozman (R-AR), Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Perdue (R-GA) for fighting for EAAP restoration and other cotton priorities. Senators Isakson and Jones led a letter with 16 senators that was sent to the Committee urging full funding of EAAP, and Senator Hyde-Smith introduced an amendment that would have fully restored the EAAP funding.
The NCC appreciates the efforts of all Cotton Belt senators who worked throughout the Senate farm bill process to defend and improve policies important to the cotton industry.
The NCC thanks Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts (R-KS) for his leadership in preserving the Agriculture Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage (ARC/PLC) programs and the marketing loan program, but the NCC is extremely concerned about a damaging amendment by Senator Grassley (R-IA) included in the Senate’s farm bill that will harm family farms across the country and make the farm law’s safety net less effective. That amendment tightens the restrictions on farm management contributions for commodity program eligibility.
The NCC believes the House’s version of the farm bill more fully addresses the policy needs of the U.S. cotton and textile industries, as well as commercially-viable family farming operations in general. The NCC, as U.S. cotton’s central organization, looks forward to working with its supporters in the House and Senate throughout the conference committee process to achieve the U.S. cotton industry’s policy priorities in the final legislation.
The Memphis-based NCC’s mission is ensuring the ability of those seven U.S. cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.
From the Georgia Peanut Commission
“We are very pleased the bill is moving forward. This is a good farm bill for all peanut regions and segments of the peanut industry,” says Armond Morris, a Georgia peanut farmer and chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “We are very appreciative of the hard work of Georgia Senator David Perdue, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in developing the peanut provisions of the 2018 farm bill.”
Chairman Morris continues, “Senator Perdue, working with other peanut state members including Senators John Boozman, R-Arkansas, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi, Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, and Doug Jones, D-Alabama, worked to prevent harmful amendments on the floor. Georgia’s rural economy depends on agriculture and peanuts are a major component of the ag economy.”
The Georgia Peanut Commission is very pleased with the peanut provisions of the farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate. The production of peanuts alone contributes approximately $2 billion to the Georgia economy. This includes thousands of jobs in Georgia’s most rural counties.
For additional information on the farm bill visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website at www.gapeanuts.com.