WASHINGTON, D.C. – One large step closer to delivering on promised certainty, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan 86-11 vote.
“Today marks an important day for farm country. We are one step closer to providing farmers and ranchers a Farm Bill with the certainty and predictability they deserve,” said Chairman Roberts. “I thank my partner in this journey, Ranking Member Stabenow, as well as many of our Senate colleagues who offered leadership and expertise. I am proud we have a strong, budget neutral Farm Bill with broad support.”
“The 2018 Senate Farm Bill proves that bipartisanship is a tried and true approach to getting things done,” said Ranking Member Stabenow. “By working across the aisle, we crafted a Farm Bill that strengthens our diverse agricultural economy and all the jobs it supports in Michigan and across the county. I want to thank Chairman Roberts for his leadership and partnership, along with our Senate colleagues who contributed their ideas for improving American agriculture.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee favorably reported out the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, on June 13, 2018. The bipartisan 5-year legislation encompasses a broad array of agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The legislation has the support of more than 500 groups representing thousands of agriculture, food, nutrition, hunger, forestry, conservation, rural, business, faith-based, research, and academic interests.
The house passed its version of the bill on June 21. According to Politico, “Key differences between the House and Senate bills, primarily in regard to the food stamp program, farm subsidy caps and conservation initiatives, set up potentially contentious negotiations between the lawmakers who will be tasked with melding the two versions into one.”
“We know conference committee is going to be a wild and woolly debate as we go forward on a number of things," Stabenow said on the floor on Thursday.
“With the combined threat of retaliatory trade tariffs and an EPA seemingly intent on dismantling the RFS, farmers need a strong farm bill now more than ever. NCGA urges members of the House and Senate to come together quickly and find common ground to strengthen the farm safety net and adequately meet the needs of American consumers and our rural communities across our nation,” said Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Assn. and a North Dakota farmer.
The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, 2018.