Dec 12, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC -- The 2018 Farm Bill, known formally as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, H.R. 2, and its accompanying conference report of resolved differences between the House and Senate versions is in the final stretch to becoming law.
The Farm Bill conference report was officially filed late Monday evening. Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted 87 to 13 to adopt the Farm Bill conference report. This afternoon, the House overwhelmingly, adopted the conference report by a vote of 369 to 47.
The rice industry had broad support from our many friends in Congress representing both agriculture and urban states and districts. Unfortunately, two Members of Congress representing rice states voted against this legislation that supports the U.S. rice industry in a time of great need, including Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Kennedy (R-LA).
“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.”
The 12-title, 807-page omnibus farm law contains several positive provisions for the U.S. rice industry, many of which were developed by and advocated for by the dedicated grassroots members of USA Rice. Some highlights include the maintenance and enhancement of the Price Loss Coverage Program, an increase to the rice marketing loan rates, improvements to critical conservation programs, and the preservation of trade promotion and food aid programs.
“On behalf of the U.S. rice industry, I want to thank all of our members who played a role in developing our Farm Bill priorities and for the countless hours advocating to ensure they were included in the bill,” said Charley Mathews, Jr., California rice farmer and USA Rice Chairman. “Whether it was phone calls or meetings to discuss USA Rice positions and Farm Bill developments, interacting with Members of Congress or their staff, testifying before Congress or at field hearings, or any other role you may have played in this process, our success would not have been possible without your dedication and support.”
Now that the bill and compromise package have cleared both chambers of Congress, it goes to President Trump’s desk for his signature. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has stated he will urge the President to sign the bill.
USA Rice fully supports the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and strongly urges President Trump expeditiously sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law.