The House Agriculture Committee completed its markup of the House farm bill today and reported the bill to the full U.S. House. Despite a robust debate, the Committee made few changes to the bill. Now the bill moves toward the House floor.
“The 2018 Farm Bill is ready for debate and amendments a mere six days after its introduction. A vote by the full House of Representatives is expected to soon follow. This is great news for farmers and ranchers everywhere. H.R. 2 — The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 — takes us one step closer to bringing certainty to families who face the toughest farm economy in more than a decade,” said Zippy Duvall, American farm Bureau Federation president. “We look forward to working with members of both the House and Senate to complete work on a bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by the president before the current law expires.”
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) lauded the House Agriculture Committee for approving a draft of the 2018 Farm Bill that contains key dairy policy improvements. Among the provisions of significance to the U.S. dairy industry in the House bill are additional improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP). The measure raises the maximum covered margin to $9 per hundredweight and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured; both measures will offer greater flexibility for dairy producers. It also includes provisions of an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management.
“It’s important that the Farm Bill process continue moving forward,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO . “As U.S. dairy farmers weather a fourth-straight year of depressed milk prices, making additional improvements to the dairy safety net through this farm bill becomes more critical with each passing day.”
The House bill also addresses several other NMPF priorities. The conservation title helps producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water. Under the trade title, the Farm Bill authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. The bill also includes helpful provisions intended to increase fluid milk consumption. NMPF looks forward to working with Congress on these issues as the process continues.
The National Corn Growers Association too was supportive of the House bill.
“NCGA is pleased the bill restores full funding to the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs and makes administrative reforms to the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage Program (ARC), which are welcome provisions for corn farmers facing uncertain times. NCGA also appreciates the bill’s expansion of grower participation in working lands conservation programs and the research title’s funding for the phenotyping initiative,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA president. “Moving forward, NCGA will remain focused on our growers’ top policy concerns — a robust federal crop insurance program, ensuring the ARC-county program is a viable risk management option, and increased resources for trade promotion programs.”