2018 Farm Bill Passes House; Senate Version Next Up

GA-Farm Bill Passes House-180622WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Farm Bill, The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), by a vote of 213-211, with no Democrats supporting the bill.  

Several provisions advocated for by USA Rice were included in this version of the bill:  maintenance and enhancement of a strong farm safety net for producers, expansion to the definition of family in determining actively engaged participants on the farm, and reduction of burdensome paperwork and increased access to conservation programs for producers.  

The report language produced with the bill includes a provision encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop crop insurance endorsements for alternate wetting and drying, and furrow irrigation practices.

"USA Rice is sincerely grateful for the hard work and tremendous efforts of Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Mike Bost (R-IL), as well as all others who helped secure provisions supporting the rice industry," said Joe Mencer, Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Farmers.  "This is a great step forward in the process to finalize a farm bill needed to provide long term certainty for rice farmers."

Next week, the Senate will begin the process for consideration of its version of the Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042).  It's reported that a Senate vote could be held as early as next Thursday.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to express his desire to vote on the bill prior to the July 4th recess.

Mencer said, "USA Rice looks forward to working with the Senate on its version of the Farm Bill to produce legislation that works for the U.S. rice industry."

The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, leaving three months for a new bill to be signed into law.