Senate Farm Bill Passes with Overwhelming Support

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

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.  The vote illustrated significant bipartisan support of the bill.  The Senate version of the farm bill is substantially different from the House version, specifically when it comes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  The differences between the two farm bill’s also include conservation initiatives and farm subsidies.

Senate Farm BillThere have been mixed reactions to the Senate farm bill getting passed just days after the House passed their version by a slim margin.  “The farm bill represents a five-year agreement between farmers and the American people,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said in a statement. “We will encourage our representatives to meld the best elements of the House and Senate bills to create a modern farm bill that serves farmers, ranchers, rural Americans and everyone who depends on the nation’s agricultural production.”

Congress will remain under tremendous pressure from the country’s agriculture industry to get the legislation delivered to President Trump by September 30, when the current farm bill is set to expire.  President Trump has noted the importance of getting a farm bill established but has been critical of certain provisions in the Senate draft of the bill.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House stated, “the Administration is concerned that the bill does not incorporate any of the conservation program changes proposed in the FY 2019 Budget that prioritized funding for programs that have shown positive outcomes while eliminating funding for those programs with limited outcomes.”

After the week-long recess, the House and Senate will be seated with the task of combining the two drafts into a final version of the farm bill.   In the event Congress cannot make the necessary compromises, there is a possibility that the current farm bill could be extended.