2018 Farm Bill advances with Senate vote

2018 Farm Bill advances with Senate vote
WASHINGTON—The newest federal farm bill is closer to becoming reality following a bipartisan vote on June 28 that approved the Senate version.

The move was cheered by the nation’s largest agricultural organization. “Obviously, this vote takes us one step closer to getting a farm bill on time,” said Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We were ecstatic when the House farm bill was finally passed (on June 21). We now have the other piece of the puzzle.”

Walmsley noted that differences between the two bills and concerns Farm Bureau has are likely to be ironed out in conference. He added that the current farm economy underscores the need for a timely completion of the farm bill.

“When Mother Nature is your business partner, when we still see all the uncertainty out there when it comes to trade, one thing Washington can provide is a little certainty around a farm bill. … We’re optimistic that we can work through the differences in the bill and get it done before current law expires.”

AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the Senate vote “could not have come at a better time. America’s farmers and ranchers continue to face a challenging agricultural economy, a shaky outlook for our export markets and a dire ag labor shortage. It was time for some good news, and the Senate delivered it in bipartisan fashion.”

Wayne F. Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, concurred. “There will never be a federal farm bill that’s going to please absolutely everyone 100 percent,” he said, “but the current bill represents a solid effort by lawmakers, in a timely manner.” The Goochland County grain and hay producer explained that to operate a farm “is to constantly be thinking and planning a season or more ahead of the calendar. We appreciate Congress’ attention to this critical legislation as we start to make decisions regarding 2019.”

Updated about every five years, the federal farm bill addresses agriculture and other affairs under the authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since 1933, farm bills have covered commodity programs, trade, conservation, ag research and food and nutrition programs.

The current farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, expires in September.

Media: Contact Will Rodger, 202-406-3642, or Shiloh Perry, 202-406-3643, AFBF communications; or Pam Wiley, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1128.

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