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Ag groups cheer Senate passage of farm bill

Farm groups are pleased with the Senate’s passage of a farm bill and say they will continue to advocate for improvements through the conference process.
Carol Ryan Dumas

Capital Press

Published on July 2, 2018 8:12AM


Groups representing U.S. farmers are applauding the Senate’s strong bipartisan approval of its farm bill that passed last week in an 86-11 vote.

In statements issued to the press, many noted the Senate’s passage brings farmers one step closer to much needed certainty in a time of financial stress and an unknown export outlook. They also urged Senate and House members to quickly find common ground to strengthen the farm safety net.

“Chairman (Pat) Roberts and ranking member (Debbie) Stabenow worked with other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to deliver a bill that will continue to provide the risk management tools that America’s farmers need now more than ever before,” Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said.

“Of course no bill is ever perfect, but this bipartisan effort gives us a solid framework for progress,” he said.

AFBF has concerns about some of the provisions that were added to the bill that make it harder for farmers to manage risk, but it is confident those issues can be satisfactorily addressed by the conference committee, he said.

National Farmers Union’s board of directors unanimously supported the Senate’s efforts when the bill was first introduced and is pleased with its passage.

The bill “includes encouraging provisions that strengthen the farm safety net, promote farm sustainability and ensure access to fair and diverse markets, all of which would provide essential security,” Rob Larew, NFU senior president of public policy and communications, said.

The National Association of Wheat Growers is pleased the bill reauthorizes conservation and trade promotion programs and appreciates the Senate’s increased funding for the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.

But it will continue to advocate for increased funding for trade promotion, a stronger research title and crop insurance provisions.

“Crop insurance is a unique risk-management tool available for farmers and ranchers. NAWG continues to advocate for a strong crop insurance program and continued choice between ARC (Agricultural Risk Coverage)and PLC (Price Loss Coverage)in the final version,” Jim Musick, NAWG president, said.

National Corn Growers Association said senators recognized the importance and effectiveness of risk-management tools, including a robust federal crop insurance program.

“With the combined threat of retaliatory tariffs and an EPA seemingly intent on dismantling the RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard), farmers need a strong farm bill now more than ever,” Kevin Skunes, NCGA president, said.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said more work on the farm bill is needed to address cattle producers’ priorities.

“While the Senate version includes permanent authorization of the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, zero dollars are provided,” Kevin Kester, NCBA president, said.

The bill also left out important changes to the conservation title that were included in the House version, he said.

The National Milk Producers Federation said the bill adds $100 million to the dairy title baseline, enhances the Margin Protection Program, reauthorizes trade promotion programs and includes provisions to promote consumption of fluid milk and foster innovation and new opportunities in the dairy industry.

“Senators Roberts and Stabenow have crafted a bipartisan farm bill that includes important dairy policy improvements at a time when many farmers are facing a very tough economic time,” Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO, said.



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