Apr 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC -- House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) introduced his draft of the 2018 Farm Bill, formally known as H.R. 2, The Agriculture & Nutrition Act of 2018, yesterday after months of negotiations. The bill’s nutrition and food stamp provisions are controversial, and have actually divided the Committee along partisan lines, but the other titles reflect the good work that Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) have done to craft a strong bill that supports farmers who are facing trade uncertainty and who have weathered consecutive years of down prices.
The House Agriculture Committee held 113 hearings on the different provisions of the bill in Washington, D.C., and across the country to learn from farmers and other stakeholders the issues that affect them the most. USA Rice was engaged in this conversation from the beginning, testifying at hearings related to the state of the agriculture economy, the commodity title, the conservation title, and international food aid programs. USA Rice has been very active on Capitol Hill, pushing for modest revisions to improve the programs most important to rice farmers.
The text of the bill includes several changes advocated for by USA Rice, including expanding the definition of a family to determine the eligibility of actively engaged producers on the farm, tweaking the conservation title to decrease cumbersome paperwork while making the programs more accessible to producers, and changes to the trade title to maintain funding for international promotion programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD).
While the sweeping legislation is still under review by the USA Rice Farmers Board and staff, we can say that the bill maintains and improves upon the viable safety net for rice farmers provided under the 2014 farm bill.
USA Rice views the introduction of the farm bill in the House as an important step in the legislative process and we look forward to working with Committee Members as they consider amendments and proceed to markup next week," said USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely.