House Passes Final Farm Bill Agreement
HARRISONVILLE, MO – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) today made the following statement about the House’s passage of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report.
“Today’s passage of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report provides much needed certainty and flexibility for producers and consumers alike,” said Hartzler, who was chosen as a conferee on the final negotiated version of the bill. “This bill ensures consumers continue to enjoy the safest, most abundant food supply in the world by improving public/private risk management programs and supporting local, national and international efforts vital in protecting and promoting American agriculture. Significant investments in rural broadband, trade promotion, research and development, and conservation initiatives will positively impact rural America for years to come.
“While we did not achieve all that we wanted in the final version of the bill, this legislation is a positive step for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural America. I am pleased to see many of my priorities reflected in the legislation, and I applaud Congress for acting so quickly to secure a comprehensive Farm Bill for those facing difficult times in farm country,” added Hartzler, who was unable to make the final vote due to the passing of her father back home in Missouri.
Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill:
- Includes Hartzler language to increase minimum speed requirements for rural broadband and recognizes the importance of expanding rural broadband.
- Maintains crop insurance and improves insurance options for dairy producers, while also strengthening and providing flexibility for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs.
- Invests and streamlines conservation initiatives for farm families to continue to improve and protect our natural resources and includes language Rep. Hartzler authored to allow grazing on CRP lands.
- Enhances integrity of the SNAP program by improving education and training programs at the state level, reducing monthly work requirement exemptions from 15 to 12 percent, eliminating the ability for participants to receive benefits in multiple states.
- Includes language Rep. Hartzler authored to increase private investment in rural broadband, modifying Rural Utilities Service (RUS) broadband programs to include loan guarantees in addition to existing direct loans.
- Prioritizes funding for opioid prevention, treatment and recovery facilities in rural communities.
- Promotes American exports by enhancing and permanently funding trade promotion programs necessary for producers to secure additional markets.
- Improves clarity and consistency for small meat processors by including Rep. Hartzler’s language requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to report on the effectiveness of existing regulations for small meat processors.
- Ensures agriculture is on the cutting edge of technology and innovation by investing over $600 million in funding for agriculture research, extension and education.
- Establishes new programs and funding to protect the health of our nation’s livestock while also creating a feral swine eradication pilot program.
- Improves assistance for specialty crops and reduces fraud in organic imports.
- Helps beginning farmers and ranchers establish themselves in agriculture and provides support for youth to get engaged in agricultural careers.
- Recognizes the hardship currently facing farm families by reestablishing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to help combat farmer suicides.
The President is expected to sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law next week.