Following Wednesday’s announcement that Congress had passed a farm bill, agriculture industry associations responded with statements of approval and appreciation that their stakeholders will not have to go into the 2019 planting season without a safety net.
Representatives of key farm and ranch organizations cited continued support for a strong crop insurance program, market assistance, and conservation in the bill that passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.
“Today’s (Wednesday, Dec. 12) passage of the 2018 farm bill by the House of Representatives, and the Senate’s approval yesterday, is welcome news to America’s farmers and ranchers and the consumers who depend on them for our food, fiber and energy crops,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.
“Passage means we are one signature away from renewal of risk management tools, foreign market development and environmental stewardship programs that farmers and ranchers need to survive a prolonged and painful downturn in farm income and be sustainable.
“We eagerly await the president’s signature on this legislation and we know that Agriculture Secretary Perdue will implement it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) praised Congress for renewing the long-term investment in export market development programs “at a crucial time for our farmers and ranchers.
“We also want to thank the National Association of Wheat Growers for working to present our positions on export development funding and we are very pleased that members of Congress and their staff addressed those concerns effectively in this Farm Bill,” said USW Chairman Chris Kolstad, a wheat farmer from Ledger, Mont.
President and CEO Kevin Brinkley, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, Texas, praised the bipartisan effort that includes many of the cotton industry’s top policy priorities.
“This has been a long and deliberative process to provide a meaningful safety net for America’s farmers and economic support for our rural communities in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico,” Brinkley said. “This bill, and the work on seed cotton leading up to it, is a huge win for our cotton farmers. We congratulate House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, Ranking Member Collin Peterson, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for reaching a bipartisan agreement and getting this legislation to the finish line.
“America’s farmers need economic certainty, and safety net provisions such as continued access to risk management tools will help provide it,” said PCCA Chairman Eddie Smith. “We were pleased when cotton was returned to the commodity title of the 2014 farm bill, and we are very happy it will continue in this latest legislation.”
“USA Rice applauds the work and perseverance of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, especially the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders and their staff, for passing a farm bill that is good for the U.S. rice industry,” said Joe Mencer, Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice Farmers. “The farm bill provides a sense of confidence for rice farmers and the industry during a time of depressed prices and an uncertain trade and market outlook going into next season.”
Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Corn Growers Association said, “NCGA is pleased to see the bill maintains support for a robust crop insurance program, our organization’s top priority, and strengthens the ARC-CO program through administrative improvements, including a one-time program change option, an increase to the plug yield for disaster years, the use of a trend-adjusted yield factor, and a market adjustment provision for the floor price.”
Farmers are painfully aware of the depressed state of the farm economy. “Getting the farm bill passed, and signed into law, is one less thing they need to worry about,” adds Chrisp.
The bill also provides increased funding for trade promotion programs that are critically needed for agriculture at this time.
Robert McKnight Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), said key elements in the bill will be good for cattlemen.
”We applaud final passage of the 2018 farm bill, and especially thank Chairman Mike Conaway for his skillful leadership that made it possible. The legislation retains many of the hard-fought provisions that were essential to cattle raisers, including authorization for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank and enhancements to important conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President & CEO Chris Jahn praised legislators for their work. “We’d have no farm bill if not for the excellent work done by Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas-11), and ranking members Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.-7), to get this thing across the finish line,” said Jahn.
He said passage of the farm bill is good news for the farm economy and includes many positives for the fertilizer industry and the farming customers.
“Sustainability and environmental stewardship are keystones of our mission, and with the 4Rs we are walking the walk. We are extremely proud of our history of actively advocating for a program that is proven to both improve agricultural productivity and minimize impact to the environment,” said Jahn.
“The farm bill passed by the full Congress represents a truly bipartisan spirit and offers genuine hope for agriculture,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The dairy provisions adopted by Congress will bring critically important assistance to the nation’s dairy farmers. The sooner the president signs the bill, the sooner that the Agriculture Department can implement these important policy improvements.”
Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said, “The bipartisan bill includes important commodity price protections that will provide producers and community banks with greater business-planning certainty over the next five years. This is essential during an era of low commodity prices, sharply lower net farm income, and foreign trade uncertainties.”