After months of hard-work and negotiation, the U.S. Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill today, with strong bipartisan support.
“The 2018 Farm Bill is farmer-focused and welcome news for Iowa. From strengthening conservation programs to providing critical mental health support through my FARMERS FIRST Act, the 2018 Farm Bill provides certainty for our farmers and strong support for our rural communities. I am proud to support the 2018 Farm Bill and would like to thank all the Iowans across the state who provided valuable information and feedback throughout this long process,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
Senator Joni Ernst is a member of the Conference Committee and is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. The 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee released the final text of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report on December 10, 2018 and the final bill passed the Senate today (December 11, 2018).
The 2018 Farm Bill provides much-needed certainty and predictability for Iowa producers, and all of rural America, and is the result of years of bipartisan work across the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
The 2018 Farm Bill includes many of Senator Ernst’s priorities:
- Strengthening Conservation Programs: Portions of the bipartisan Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act of 2018 will revise and strengthen the current provisions of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). And, provisions from the bipartisan Regional Conservation Partnership Program Improvement Act will strengthen the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and incentivize rural and urban partnerships for conservation.
- Providing Critical Mental Health Support for Farmers: The entirety of the bipartisan Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act was included and will provide our nation’s agricultural community with critical mental health support and resources.
- Supporting Our Nation’s Dairy Farmers: The 2018 Farm Bill includes a proposal for a pilot program that would encourage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase more milk to improve participants’ diets, especially lower-income families with children.
- Protecting Farmers Against Adverse Changes in Market Conditions: Provisions from bipartisan legislation that strengthen and improve the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC)-County Level program are included in the 2018 Farm Bill, specifically provisions that: require payments to be based on the physical location of a farm; prioritize the use of actual county yield data; encourage the Secretary to pro rate base acres and payments where appropriate; and, prioritize the yields compiled by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) as the data for ARC.