WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Agriculture Committee today passed out of committee the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2) – critical legislation to address the economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making historic investments in opportunities for SNAP recipients. Upon passage, Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the below remarks:
“Today’s vote was about America’s farmers and ranchers. It was about a better future and greater opportunities for SNAP recipients. It was about fulfilling an obligation to lead, rather than standing on the sidelines.
“I’m disappointed that my Democrat colleagues have turned their backs on America’s heartland – that they’ve chosen partisan politics over the three years of bipartisan work in this committee. Democrats halted talks over their objection to requiring work-capable adults to either find employment or receive free training for 20 hours per week. Yet, despite this turn of events, I remain hopeful. When House Democrats pushed a partisan farm bill that raised taxes in 2008 over Republican objections, Republicans worked alongside Democrats to fend off hostile amendments aimed against the legislation on the House floor and worked in conference committee to achieve a bipartisan farm bill. I am hopeful Democrats will not hold the nation’s farmers and ranchers hostage in this process over the SNAP work and training requirements, which will provide SNAP beneficiaries not just a benefit, but a better future that only a job can provide.
“But we’ll continue fighting, we won’t settle for the status quo – because America needs a farm bill. America deserves a farm bill. And I look forward to taking this vote to the people’s House – to debating these policies on the floor and to sharing our vision with the American people. We have cleared this hurdle and will deliver a strong, new farm bill on time.”
North Dakota farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Assn., Kevin Skunes offered the following comments on the House Agriculture Committee approval on Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.
“The House Agriculture Committee’s action today is the first step to enacting a new farm 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.
“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.
“We urge the House to pass a farm bill that strengthens risk management tools and provides the needed resources to enhance U.S. farmers and ranchers’ competitive position in international markets. NCGA looks forward to working with members of both the House and Senate to build a strong, bipartisan coalition that can support the entire farm bill and see it signed into law this year.”
American Soybean Assn. President John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmer from Keota, Iowa, commended the House ag committee for passing the bill out of committee, but also acknowledged some concerns. "ASA continues to support completing the farm bill process as soon as possible this year to provide the long-term certainty farmers and ranchers need in the face of low farm prices and the volatile outlook for agricultural trade. After today’s Committee action, we hope sufficient votes can be found to pass a bill on the House floor in the coming weeks. However, we are concerned by the absence of bipartisan support for the current bill, and encourage the House and Committee leadership to work toward legislation that can receive the broad support that farm bills traditionally require.”
CLICK HERE to read the full legislative text of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.
CLICK HERE to read the section-by-section summary of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.
CLICK HERE to read policy highlights in the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.