Alabama lawmakers celebrate passage of 2018 Farm Bill
The 2018 Farm Bill passed the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday by a bipartisan final vote of 369-47 and now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.
The bill, which passed from conference and then the Senate on Tuesday, has been celebrated as a major win for Alabama farmers and the state in general.
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) have already applauded its passage, with most of Alabama’s House delegation now joining in the plaudits after all of them voted to pass the bill.
“Our farmers and foresters are our future. I am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation to better support our farmers in Alabama and throughout the country,” Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) said in a release.
He continued, “The 2018 Farm Bill will allow for improved crop protections and loan options for farmers, incentivize rural development, support animal disease prevention and management, and will continue our nation’s commitment to agriculture and farmers.”
“I am especially pleased to see the substantial resources provided to improve rural broadband access to communities. Providing Internet access to people in rural Alabama is absolutely critical to economic development and the success of these communities in the 21st Century,” Byrne concluded.
Congresswoman Martha Roby (AL-2) added her high praise for the bill’s passage, commenting on the importance of agriculture to Alabama’s economy and way of life.
“In Alabama’s Second District, agriculture is the largest employer. It is imperative that Congress honor our commitments to the hardworking farmers and producers across the country,” Roby outlined in a statement.
“The 2018 farm bill provides certainty to the American families who work every day to provide the food and fiber we depend on. I was proud to support this legislation on behalf of the farmers I represent, and I am eager to see President Trump sign it into law,” she added.
Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) was on the conference committee of Representatives and Senators that agreed to this final version of the bill.
“I am proud to vote for the Farm Bill,” Rogers explained in a statement. “As a Conferee on the bill, I know firsthand just how important this bill is to our nation.”
“This Farm Bill strengthens the farm safety net for Alabama’s farmers and producers and it provides five years of certainty. America’s farm economy is still struggling, and this bill will be a much-needed shot in the arm,” he continued.
Rogers concluded, “The bill also improves the SNAP (food stamp) program integrity while incentivizing work for those who are on government benefits. The rural development programs in the bill will be great for folks across Alabama who need rural broadband, and the research funding in the Farm Bill is great news for universities like Tuskegee and Auburn. Finally, I am pleased to say language I introduced with Rep. Terri Sewell was included in the bill. This important language helps provide grants for folks with failing wastewater infrastructure.”
I was proud to vote today for the Farm Bill. It was a vote for both farmers and consumers. There is not a single person that farming does not impact. Farming Feeds (and clothes) Alabama and America.
— Rep. Robert Aderholt (@Robert_Aderholt) December 12, 2018
The Farm Bill is expected to improve agriculture policy by:
- Providing a nationwide yield update for Price Loss Coverage (PLC), beginning with the 2020 crop year and allowing PLC to better respond to market conditions;
- Making several key improvements to Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), including increased yield plugs and yield trend adjustments;
- Protecting and improving crop insurance;
- Investing in research, extension, and education projects;
- Protecting farmers from additional costly and burdensome red tape;
- Strengthening the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) capacity to combat the opioid crisis;
- Refocusing efforts to expand quality broadband to rural America;
- Including critical funding for feral swine control;
- Improving existing programs to maximize efficiency, reducing waste and maintaining fiscally responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars;
- Restoring funding for trade promotion efforts in an attempt to keep pace with trading competitors around the world;
- Boosting anti-hunger programs and incentivizes work for federal beneficiaries;
- Helping equip and train the next generation of farmers.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn