The House of Representatives passed the farm bill and is going to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The bill, a rarity in Washington, passed through Congress with large bipartisan support, passing the Senate 87-13 and the House 369-47.
CNN reports that the five-year bill offers more flexible coverage for struggling dairy farmers and invests $300 million in prevention and response for animal pests and disease. It also addresses issues such as access to broadband internet, and farm stress and mental health services, as well as the opioid epidemic in rural areas.
The final bill does not include stricter work requirements for food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was favored by President Trump and was included in the House version.
Members of the agriculture community praised Congress for passing the long-delayed bill. The National Turkey Federation said in a statement, “The 2018 Farm Bill represents an unprecedented investment in animal health. The health of the turkey industry depends upon the health of our flocks. The National Turkey Federation applauds passage of the Farm Bill and the inclusion of key provisions to help make certain animal health is a priority and that there is a coordinated effort in place to address any threats. The creation of the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, along with mandatory funding, will provide the tools and resources animal agriculture needs to help prevent, identify and respond to disease outbreaks.”
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “The passage of the 2019 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords. This Farm Bill will help producers make decisions about the future, while also investing in important agricultural research and supporting trade programs to bolster exports. While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities. I commend Congress for bringing the Farm Bill across the finish line and am encouraging President Trump to sign it.”
Source: CNN, NTF, USDA