WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2018 Farm Bill on Thursday afternoon.
“We are thankful that our leaders in Washington, D.C. got this one right,” said Don Shawcroft, president of Colorado Farm Bureau and San Luis Valley native. “The Farm Bill provides farmers and ranchers across the country with programs that are vital to the success of the entire agriculture industry.”
The vote was the House’s second attempt at passing the bill. In May, the House vote resulted in a failed attempt on a largely party-line vote.
“A safe, stable food supply is paramount to the future of our state and our county,” continued Shawcroft. “This bill means that important programs like crop insurance, rural development, conservation and the food stamp program, will remain intact and support farmers and ranchers across the country.”
He added, “Farmers and ranchers are struggling. Commodity prices are the worst they have been since the 1980’s and are continuing a downward trend. Programs within the Farm Bill will help our food producers stay afloat during these difficult times. CFB would like to wholeheartedly thank the members of the Colorado delegation who voted yes on the bill and showed their support of agriculture, Colorado’s second largest industry: Congressman Ken Buck; Congressman Mike Coffman; Congressman Doug Lamborn; and Congressman Scott Tipton.
The passage of the bill is a major step in the delivery of a final Farm Bill. The Senate could begin floor consideration of their version of the farm bill, S. 3042, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, as soon as June 22.
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. This legislation preserves and builds upon important resources that provide American farmers with the certainty they need to support the global food supply, as well as makes commonsense reforms to nutrition programs to help Americans escape poverty. The Farm Bill passed with a vote of 213-211.
“American farmers face many risks as they strive to feed the nation, including bad weather and unstable markets. With critical safety nets maintained and strengthened in this year’s Farm Bill, farmers and ranchers will be better equipped to provide families across the nation with healthy, affordable food.
“In addition to maintaining support for America’s farmers, this year’s Farm Bill will bring much-needed reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Today, SNAP traps too many American families in a cycle of poverty. The Farm Bill will set more individuals and families up for success by instituting a twenty-hour-per-week work requirement for able-bodied SNAP recipients ages 18-59, with exceptions made for the elderly, individuals with disabilities, women who are pregnant, and for individuals who are the primary caregiver of a child 6 years old or under. In order to fulfill this requirement, the SNAP recipient must either have a job or enroll in the state’s Employment and Training (E&T) Services program. This Farm Bill will make historic investments in the E&T program, meaning anyone who wishes to participate will be guaranteed a spot. These changes to the program will help reverse the alarming trends we have seen in SNAP and give people the tools and resources they need to create a better life for themselves and their families.
“I am proud to vote for legislation that will send more Americans down the road of prosperity, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate follow our lead on its 2018 Farm Bill.”
Background on the 2018 Farm Bill:
· Maintains the crop insurance program.
· Maintains the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Transition Incentives Program, which facilitates transfers of CRP land enrolled in an expiring contract from a retired/retiring farmer to a beginning, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher.
· Provides $80 million per year for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.
· Repeals the Water of the United States Rule (WOTUS).
· Streamlines the Forest Service application process to construct broadband infrastructure on federal land, helping to bring broadband to rural communities.
· Incentivizes research and development of innovative wood products to support resilient working forests.
· Builds upon the successes of the last Farm Bill’s Categorical Exclusions (CEs), which expedites the Forest Service’s ability to remove dead trees after wildfires.
· Increases the SNAP asset threshold for a typical family from $2,250 to $7,000.
· Creates a new savings account exemption, so the first $2,000 a household saves will not impact their SNAP benefits.
· Exempts the first $12,000 in value of each vehicle per licensed driver in the household from counting towards the SNAP asset threshold.
· Institutes a 20-hours-per-week work requirement for able-bodied SNAP recipients ages 18-59. Exceptions would be made for the elderly, individuals with disabilities, women who are pregnant, and for individuals who are the primary caregiver of a child six years-of-age or younger. In order to fulfill this 20-hours-per-week work requirement, the SNAP recipient must either have a job or enroll in the state’s Employment and Training Services (E&T) program.
· Makes historic investments in the E&T program, which means that anyone who wishes to participate will be guaranteed a spot.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2018 Farm Bill:
“I applaud Chairman Conaway and the House Agriculture Committee for their diligence and hard work in passing their 2018 Farm Bill through the House of Representatives. American producers have greatly benefited from the policies of the Trump Administration, including tax reforms and reductions in regulations, however a Farm Bill is still critically important to give the agriculture community some much-needed reassurance. No doubt, there is still much work to be done on this legislation in both chambers of Congress, and USDA stands ready to assist with whatever counsel lawmakers may request or require.”