Updated: Agricultural Groups React To U.S. Senate Passage of Farm Bill

Farm Bill Moves Onto Conference

Washington, DC (July 5, 2018) - Last week, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill in a bipartisan vote of 86-11.

The legislation contained a number of American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) priorities, including:

  • amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act to protect asexually propagated plant materials;
  • harmonization of the Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s guidelines on cover crop use within the crop insurance program;
  • creation of a soil health pilot project;
  • funding for the MAP and FMD trade development programs;
  • $200 million for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR);
  • a strong crop-insurance program;
  • and increased funding for organic research.

The House passed its version of the Farm Bill on June 21 after a series of failed votes on immigration proposals. The bill secured final passage by a party-line vote of 213-211.

Now that the House and Senate have both passed Farm Bills, the two versions will move to conference after the July 4 recess, where the principal players from both committees — Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11), Ranking Member Colin Peterson (MN-08), Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) — and a handful of other members will work to reach an agreement.

The Senate and House versions of the bill include quite a few key differences, especially in relation to the Nutrition Titles.

ASTA will continue to be engaged throughout the conference process — particularly in the areas of conservation and innovation, where the two bills vary significantly. Once an agreement is reached in conference, the final bill will be sent back to the House and Senate floors for final passage, and then on to President Trump for his signature or veto.

The 2014 Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018.

Roberts Successfully Pushes Senate Farm Bill Across Finish Line

Washington, DC (June 28, 2018) – National Sorghum Producers applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) for his leadership leading to Senate passage of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, with a vote of 86-11. In response, NSP Chairman and sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska, Don Bloss released the following statement:

“The bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow to bring this bill to its completion is heartily commended by National Sorghum Producers. We appreciate the Senators who showed support for agriculture today, bringing us one step closer to a final bill that provides the needed support and certainty for sorghum farmers and all of America’s farmers and ranchers.

“This is a solid bill for sorghum farmers with stability under the farm bill safety net, attention to resource conserving crops like sorghum in the conservation title, strong crop insurance that preserves the most important risk management tool we have with direction to improve sorghum policies, and a trade title that provides critical funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development.

“As Chairman Roberts has said so often, it is not the best possible bill but it is the best bill possible, and we are proud of his work. We are grateful to Senator Roberts and his staff for getting the bill across the Senate floor, putting it in a position to be conferenced with the House—a process we anxiously anticipate in July with leadership from both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.”

NCGA Statement on Senate Passage of Farm Bill

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement on the Senate passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Today’s vote is a welcome step to providing much-needed certainty for farmers facing increasingly challenging times.

“NCGA would like to thank Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together to get this bi-partisan bill passed and recognizing the importance and effectiveness of the farm bill’s risk management tools, including a robust federal crop insurance program. “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."