From American Farm Bureau
House Farm Bill Passage a Win for Farmers
The following statement regarding House passage of the 2018 Farm Bill may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
“Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America’s farmers and ranchers. Our grassroots Farm Bureau members clearly made their voices heard. By approving the 2018 Farm Bill today, members of the House recognized the serious economic challenges facing farmers and ranchers across the country.
“As crafted by Chairman Conaway, this bill recognizes what is working well, but it also makes much-needed improvements in risk management and crop insurance programs at a time when farm-income levels have slumped to decade lows. This would not have been possible had it not been for Speaker Ryan making the farm bill a congressional priority, and for all the hard work invested in the process by Chairman Conaway and other members of the House Agriculture Committee.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Senate Agriculture Committee leaders Roberts and Stabenow as they move forward. The Senate bill also addresses the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing today. We will also continue to focus our attention on other areas important to farmers, such as finding a solution for the very serious ag labor shortage, increasing market opportunities through trade and cutting the burdens of regulations that have piled up during previous administrations.”
House Approves 2018 Farm Bill, With FMD Language
The National Pork Producers Council praised passage by the House of the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018,” which includes several provisions important to U.S. pork producers, and urged the Senate to quickly pass its version of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Chief among the important provisions is language establishing and funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank. 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 and would be financially devastating to U.S. agriculture if an outbreak were to occur here.
“Pork producers are pleased that the House approved its 2018 Farm Bill,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and president of NPPC, which has been the leading advocate for an FMD vaccine bank. “But we need adequate funding in it to protect the livestock industry and the American economy.”
NPPC is asking lawmakers for funding in each year of the next Farm Bill of $250 million – $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million for state block grants for disease prevention and $30 million for the network of laboratories that provide disease diagnostic support.
The House version of the five-year agricultural blueprint includes those amounts only for the first year; for each of the other years, it has $30 million for state block grants and $20 million to be used at the Agriculture secretary’s discretion for the grants, labs and the vaccine bank. While the Senate legislation calls for an FMD vaccine bank, it includes money only for the labs.
“The United States is not prepared for an FMD outbreak, so we really need to have the full five-year mandatory funding,” said Heimerl. “We hope the Senate heeds our plea. We can’t afford the financial devastation this 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.
NMPF Applauds House Passage of Farm Bill as Crucial Step Toward Final Enactment in 2018
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended House passage of the Farm Bill as a key step toward enacting a bipartisan, bicameral bill into law by Sept. 30.
Among the provisions of significance to the U.S. dairy industry are improvements to the dairy safety net. The measure raises the maximum covered margin in the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) to $9/cwt. and provides increased flexibility in the amount of milk that can be insured. NMPF said the changes will improve the program for dairy producers of all sizes. The bill also includes provisions to improve milk price risk management, reflecting an agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on changes to federal milk marketing orders.
“While there are a few issues that will need to be addressed when the House reconciles its version of the Farm Bill with the one the Senate is considering, we are pleased that the process continues to move forward with this vote,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.
While today’s vote was largely divided along party lines, Mulhern said the bill’s dairy provisions were the product of bipartisan efforts. “We thank Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their continuing work to improve dairy risk management programs.”
The House bill also addresses several other NMPF priorities. The conservation title will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water. The bill includes an amendment from Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) to increase the emphasis on nutrient recovery technologies within the conservation title.
Under the trade title, the Farm Bill authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. The bill also features helpful provisions intended to increase fluid milk consumption, including an amendment by Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) to expand the varieties of milk offered in schools.
NCBA Applauds House Passage of Farm Bill
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representative’s 213-211 vote to approve H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act:
“This vote means that American cattlemen and women are one step closer to having the certainty they need to continue running their operations and contributing to rural economies. We are glad the House-passed bill addresses a number of priorities for producers, including authorization and funding for a national vaccine bank that prioritizes Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) prevention. The bill also strengthens conservation programs and improves USDA’s foreign market development activities. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and all those who voted ‘yes’ deserve a great deal of thanks for their support.”
NCC Applauds House Passage of Farm Legislation
The National Cotton Council (NCC) strongly supports the farm policy provisions in the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) and believes the House passage of the bill is an extremely important and strong step toward providing much needed stability to the U.S. cotton industry.
NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner, said, “our industry is tremendously grateful for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s (R-TX) leadership in the development of this legislation and getting it to a successful vote in the House.”
He said the industry also appreciates the strong support from Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and the many Cotton Belt Representatives in helping to get this farm legislation through the House without damaging amendments such as those that would compromise crop insurance and impose stricter payment limits and eligibility provisions.
“Without strong commodity and crop insurance policies underpinning U.S. agriculture,” Craft stated, “lenders would be reluctant to provide financing to an industry operating at the mercy of weather extremes and volatile global market prices.”
Craft said this farm bill not only can help cotton producers obtain the financing necessary for capital investments and annual crop production but can support a healthy and thriving rural economy that includes cotton gins, warehouses, marketing coops and merchants to market the crop, cottonseed handlers, and textile manufacturers – and the businesses that support them.
“The NCC is continuing to work with the Senate to reverse the harmful changes made to cotton policy during last week’s Senate Agriculture Committee consideration of its farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” Craft said.
The full Senate may consider its farm bill the week of June 25.