U.S. House passes farm bill; Senate considering its own version
On June 21, the U.S. House passed the 2018 farm bill (H.R. 2, or the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018) by a 213-211 vote. Georgia’s 10 Republican House members voted for the bill; the state’s four Democratic members voted against it.
The current farm bill expires Sept. 30. Georgia Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations have urged Congress to pass the new farm bill before then to ensure continuity of farm programs.
“Georgia Farm Bureau is pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the farm bill. The bill provides a critical safety net for Georgia’s farmers, who, like farmers across America, have struggled with declining commodity prices and a variety of other financial pressures in recent years. We look forward to working with Congress as the process of approving a new farm bill moves forward.”
According to a summary from the House Agriculture Committee, H.R. 2 would help farmers and ranchers overcome an extended period of low commodity prices that have reduced farm income to its lowest point since 2006 and decreased farm income by half over the past five years.
The bill reauthorizes Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), providing producers a one-time choice between ARC and PLC and allows a new yield update opportunity for those who experienced severe drought. The bill continues to allow seed cotton to be eligible for ARC and PLC, as established under the Bipartisan Budget Act passed earlier this year. The bill also maintains the peanut program. For all the PLC programs, reference prices are allowed to adjust as market conditions improve.
H.R. 2 adjusts coverage and premium levels in the dairy program, renaming it the Dairy Risk Management Program, with measures to ensure the feed cost formula is accurate, as well as expanding availability of the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy insurance policy.
The bill also continues funding for voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
H.R. 2 was forwarded to the Senate after its passage in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the farm bill this week. After the Senate passes its bill, a conference committee will be established to work out the differences between the two bills.
Visit http://gfb.ag/Senfarmbill to read more about the Senate bill.