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Trump signs 2018 Farm Bill

By Staff | Dec 28, 2018

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue celebrated President Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill on Dec. 20 with the following statement:

“This is a great day for our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, as President Trump’s signature on this bill is a Christmas present to American agriculture. Farmers take financial risks every year as a matter of doing business, so having a Farm Bill in place gives them peace of mind to make their decisions for the future. Since early talks on this Farm Bill began back in 2017, I’ve always believed it would be more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, and that has borne out to be true.

“The bill bolsters farm safety net programs, protects federal crop insurance, and maintains strong rural development and research initiatives. The legislation reinvents the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers, providing a boost to coverage levels and a reduction in premiums after the program fell short in the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill also includes a new Animal Disease Prevention and Management program, providing annual funding for three animal health programs. This includes a new vaccine bank focused on foot-and-mouth disease and extended funding of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network to protect our borders and improve food safety.

“While we would have liked more progress on forest management reforms and work requirements for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, we look forward to using our authorities to make improvements in those areas. All told, this is a Farm Bill that should be welcomed by producers, and at USDA we will eagerly implement its provisions. At USDA, we were pleased to provide a tremendous amount of technical assistance to Congress as legislators wrote the bill. I thank the President for his leadership on this legislation, and commend the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for their many months of hard work.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig also issued a statement on Thursday regarding President Trump signing the new Farm Bill into law.

“The Farm Bill provides long-term stability as farmers plan for the next growing season and beyond. To have the certainty that a strong crop insurance program remains in place is critically important as farmers continue to deal with tremendous volatility in both weather and markets. The strong conservation title will ensure USDA remains a key partner as we continue to expand efforts to protect our soil and improve water quality. The bill also maintains important market development programs within USDA and provides new funding for foreign animal disease response efforts, including a vaccine bank for foot and mouth disease, to help protect our critically important livestock industry,” he said. “I want to thank President Trump for his support for our farmers as he signs the Farm Bill into law. I also want to commend leaders in both the House and Senate who were able to work together to get this bipartisan bill passed so it can be in place before the end of the year.”

Farm Bill becomes law securing $2 billion for farmland protection

John Piotti, president and CEO of American Farmland Trust (AFT) said they have fought hard to secure federal funding to protect U.S. farmland and ranchland since they were founded in 1980. Throughout the Farm Bill procress, Piotti said AFT targeted increased funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement program as their number one priority, adding they are thankful for the leadership of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for addressing their priority and recognizing the importance of farmland and ranchland protection.

“Today we celebrate for farmland. With the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law, we secure another $2 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which compensates landowners for committing to keep their land in agriculture. Those funds will help save some of the most important land in this nation, essential to both the food supply and environmental health,” he said. “Though this Farm Bill is ‘evolutionary’ rather than ‘revolutionary,’ it nonetheless provides a much-needed degree of support and stability to a struggling farm community. Beyond this, the new money for farmland protection is a major victory for both farmers and the environment. AFT looks forward to working with the administration on its implementation.”

Iowa Cattlemen applaud passage of Farm Bill

The bipartisan bill includes funds of $120 million for animal health and disease preparedness. A minimum of $5 million per year allocated to the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program with the remainder given to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and funding the Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank.

Additionally, $500 million will be apportioned to the Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation program which includes full funding to the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. Each will receive a minimum of $200 million and $35.5 million respectively. These funds are crucial in promoting U.S. beef globally and help stretch producer investments in the Beef Checkoff through matching programs.

“The Farm Bill offers crucial certainty for Iowa’s cattle producers and farmers. We are encouraged to see ICA’s priorities addressed, including authorization and funding of a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, investment in trade promotion and market access, and reauthorization of key conservation programs,” said David Trowbridge, ICA President.

According to the ICA, the 2018 Farm Bill also reauthorizes conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program). While CSP funds were decreased, EQIP got a boost, giving the programs an overall increase in funding. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) got an increased acreage cap, going from 24 million to 27 million acres. A minimum of two million CRP acres will be exclusively for grazing. In order to alleviate negative effects of CRP on production lands, rental rates and incentive payments will be reduced.

The 2018 Farm Bill will also maintain research funding. Mandatory funds of $185 million will be given to the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research. It also supports more than $600 million of funding for land grant schools like Iowa State University to continue a variety of research and extension projects.

Soybean industry pleased 2018 farm bill formally enacted

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds President Trump and members of the House and Senate for quickly finalizing the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.”

ASA leaders Davie Stephens, president and Kentucky soy grower, and John Heisdorffer, chairman and grower from Iowa, were among those attending the farm bill signing ceremony Thursday afternoon at the White House.

“This is a success for agriculture to have this legislation passed before the end of the year,” said Stephens. “We appreciate the level of assurance the bill provides and will now be able to better focus on working with the Administration and Congress on other issues affecting the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. beans.”

ASA is pleased with provisions in the bill that maintain the ARC and PLC program; a strong crop insurance program; funding for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and Market Access Program (MAP) within the Agriculture Trade and Facilitation Program; baseline funding of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP); acreage limit increases for the Conservation Research Program (CRP); continued authorization for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and support of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) consensus report data; and enactment of the Ag Connectivity Provision that expands rural broadband connections, including mobile coverage.

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