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house Bill H.R. 2

The Farm Bill: Renewing & Reforming the Nation’s Food & Agriculture Programs (Conference Report)

Argument in favor

This bipartisan bill provides America’s farmers and ranchers with much needed stability from volatile commodity markets by increasing access to crop insurance and international markets. It also reforms the SNAP food assistance program to strengthen and improve state work requirements.

Eileen's Opinion
···
05/14/2018
As a Senior Citien I have worked for over 40 years and we should be getting a supplement of SNAp so that we won't have to choose getting food or our medicines. Why should the Seniors have to suffer and beg for food when our taxpapers money is taking care of everyone else. It;s our turn to be be taken care of.
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Suzanne's Opinion
···
05/18/2018
Stop this “other issues” and work on GUN CONTROL. More children killed today and still no action from Congress. If you do not address this issue will be voting everybody out. The good, the bad and the ugly.
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Gabrielle's Opinion
···
06/21/2018
Shame on the Democrats who are opposing everything good for this country because they don't want any successes for President Trump. There's a special place in hell for these Legislators who care nothing about the people they represent.
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Argument opposed

This bill doesn't do enough to overhaul the SNAP program by strengthening work requirements, which ensure taxpayers aren't sending welfare checks to those unwilling to work. It also doesn’t do enough to protect farmers and ranchers from instability caused by commodities markets and disasters.

Sandi's Opinion
···
04/30/2018
We need to OPPOSE this bill. Some examples of the harm this bill would do: 1) encouraging profligate pesticide use by preempting state pesticide laws, weakening federal protections for wildlife and endangered species from pesticides, exempting pesticides from the Clean Water Act, expediting EPA approval of pesticides without agreed-to protections, and delaying EPA pesticide protections; 2) adding work requirements to recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), targeting food access for struggling families; 3) weakening low-income children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, allowing schools to instead buy junk food with no restrictions on added sugar, salt or fats; 4) eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program, leaving farmers with fewer resources and options to implement conservation on their farms; 5) allowing mining and oil and gas drilling on agricultural conservation lands; and 6) weakening protection of endangered species from logging.
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OlderNWiser's Opinion
···
05/17/2018
Most of what this terrible bill does is cut SNAP—another travesty to starve poor people— destroy environmental protections to poison the earth and kill more helpless animals assuming them, like poor people, to be things. This is misnamed. It is the Evil Destruction bill.
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Mary's Opinion
···
05/14/2018
My two major concerns with this bill are the major cuts proposed to the food stamp program along side major funding cuts for our local farmers. Plenty of people who work unfortunately are still depending on food stamps but taking them away is not going to help anyone receive more pay in order to afford food. If wages would be raised in order to meet up with inflation, not so many people would be dependent on the program. As for our local farmers if their funding gets cut then think about the cost of shipping food from non-local Farms and it’s going to increase everyone’s cost share including in the grocery store. If we would fund local farms, prices in grocery stores may decrease.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate Passed December 11th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 87 Yea / 13 Nay
  • The house Passed December 12th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 369 Yea / 47 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
    IntroducedApril 12th, 2018

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What is House Bill H.R. 2?

(Updated 12/11/18): After the House and Senate each passed their own versions of the Farm Bill, this legislation was amended by the Senate to contain the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee's version of the bill. In its current form, this bill — the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — would reauthorize numerous U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) programs through the 2023 crop year, reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in addition to making it easier for farmers and ranchers to access credit, crop insurance, and international markets. Detailed summaries of the 807 page conference report’s various sections can be found below.

Commodities

This section would aim to maintain and strengthen the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs and allow participating farmers to make a new election between them. The programs provide farmers with protection against adverse changes in market conditions, and would be reauthorized through 2023. Payments under ARC would be based on the physical location of the farm.

Dairy policy would be maintained and strengthened through several provisions. The Margin Protection Program would be renamed the Dairy Risk Coverage program. Premiums under the program would vary, as dairy operations with a production history of less than 2 million pounds and between 2 & 10 million pounds would receive discounts.

The USDA’s marketing loan program, which helps farmers store their production so they can market their crops throughout the year rather than selling when commodity prices are low at harvest-time, would be reauthorized for the 2019 through 2023 crop years.

Nutrition

This section would maintain and reform nutrition assistance programs. It would require that work capable adults (ages 18-59) work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Exempted groups would include seniors, the disabled, those caring for children under six, and those who are pregnant. No individual would lose SNAP benefits unless they decline to work or accept free training to learn a skill.

It would also reform SNAP’s work requirement by directing states to consult with the state workforce development board or local employers to design the state’s employment and training program to meet local needs. States which include job search as a component of their program would be required to have at least one additional employment and training component.

State workforce agencies and the Secretary of Agriculture would be authorized to certify workforce partnerships operated by a private employer or nonprofit organization, which would serve as an additional means for individuals to satisfy employment and training requirements. Workforce partnerships wouldn’t receive funding under the Food and Nutrition Act. A process would be established for referral or reassessment of individuals determined to be ill-suited to the employment and training component to which they’d been referred.

Farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers would be allowed to operate a point of sale EBT device at more than one location under the same SNAP retailer authorization, enabling them to expand access to their produce. The USDA would be required to review state EBT contract service agreements and the compatibility of those systems with USDA fraud monitoring systems.

Conservation

  • The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which provides annual rent payments for 10-15 year periods to farmers in exchange for not planting on environmentally-sensitive land, would be reauthorized through 2023. CRP acreage would be increased from 25 million acres to 27 million acres over the life of the Farm Bill.

  • The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which provides financial assistance to farms for adopting conservation measures, would be reauthorized through 2023.

Trade

In-kind food aid would be retained as the foundation of U.S. food aid while oversight, monitoring, and program evaluation for food aid programs would be strengthened. Labeling requirements would appropriately convey the generosity of the American people. Among the programs maintained by the section are: Food for Peace, Food for Progress, McGovern-Dole, Farmer-to-Farmer, Local and Regional Procurement, the Cochran Fellowship Program, the Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

Credit

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts Pilot Program would be maintained with matching funds for savings accounts, and reserves a portion of ownership and operating loans for beginning farmers and ranchers. Military and related experience would be allowed to count toward 3-years of experience required prior to an application for an ownership loan.

The Conservation Loan and Loan Guarantee program would be maintained to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation measures on their land. Loan limits for individual farmers and ranchers would be updated for the first time in 16 years, enabling producers to access the credit they need to produce their crops.

Rural Development

  • USDA programs aimed at expanding access to broadband in rural areas would be reauthorized with $150 million annually through 2023.

  • USDA loan programs related to electrification or telephone service in rural areas would be reauthorized through 2023.

Research

This section would provide full funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and eliminate  mandatory funding for citrus research. It’d increase funding for the Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative to provide resources for combating fraudulent imports of organic products coming into the U.S. The farm bill would promote research on the development of mechanization and automation of labor-intensive tasks on farms and in packing facilities.

A grant program would be established for each 1890 land grant university to award scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in food and agricultural sciences.

Forestry

  • The Forest Service’s authority to dispose of small parcels of land (40 acres or less) in a manner to enhance the respective National Forest through new recreational access or acquisitions. Funds obtained through such sales could be used for the acquisition of land or interest in the state from which the sale originated.

  • The Forest Service would be allowed to conduct research and provide technical assistance and grants to facilitate the use of innovative wood products.

Horticulture

  • States would be allowed to regulate industrial hemp production based on a state or tribal plan that includes information on hemp production locations, THC concentration tests, disposal of out of compliance plants, and negligence or other violations. The USDA & Dept. of Justice would establish a plan to monitor and regulate hemp production in states without USDA approved plans.

  • The USDA would be required to issue regulations to limit the type of foreign operations that are excluded from organic certification

  • The Local Agriculture Market Program would support partnerships to plan and develop a local or regional food system through $60 million in annual grants.

Miscellaneous

  • A new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program would be designed to protect the health of the nation’s livestock sector.

  • The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant Program and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Rancher and Veteran Farmer and Rancher Program would all be merged into the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program and funded with $50 million annually.
  • A new U.S.-only vaccine bank would be established with priority for stockpiling Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine.

Impact

Farmers and ranchers; people receiving food assistance under SNAP; state agriculture and forestry agencies; and the USDA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2

$1.78 Billion
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase the deficit by $1.786 billion over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) offered the following statement about the bipartisan Farm Bill conference report to reauthorize and reform USDA programs:

The 2018 Farm Bill is our opportunity to make the American food and agriculture systems work more efficiently. I’m pleased to say we have done just that in this conference reportWe started this journey nearly two years ago. Since then, the Senate Agriculture Committee has held dozens of hearings, listened to more than 90 witnesses, and received thousands of public comments. As promised, this farm bill provides much needed certainty and predictability for all producers – of all crops – across all regions across the country. I thank my counterparts in the Senate and House for coming to – and staying at – the table to reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement for rural America.

Senate Agriculture Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) added:

“By working across the aisle, we overcame many differences to deliver a strong, bipartisan farm bill for our farmers, families, and rural communities.  The 2018 Farm Bill is a good bill for our farmers and everyone who eats. Working together, we continued to expand the diversity of our agricultural economy, maintained a strong food and farm safety net, created new opportunities in our small towns and rural communities, and made significant investments in land and water conservation. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels – it’s time to get the bill across the finish line as soon as possible. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) added:

"America’s farmers and ranchers are weathering the fifth year of severe recession, so passing a farm bill this week that strengthens the farm safety net is vitally important. I am grateful to the President, Secretary Perdue and my leadership for standing fast for the hard-working farm and ranch families that clothe and feed us. I also appreciate the members of the conference committee for bringing this process one step closer to completion."

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) added:

"This bill is a strong start to addressing the issues our producers are facing right now, particularly our dairy farmers. The bill’s new provisions will offer more flexible coverage for lower cost when dairy farmers need it most, and provide producers more tools to manage their risk. It also invests $300 million in the prevention and response for animal pests and disease. More broadly, the bill invests in research, outreach to beginning & underserved producers, local and organic food production, bioenergy, and access to new markets. It also addresses broadband, farm stress and mental health issues, and the opioid epidemic in rural areas. It’s the product of strong bipartisan work in both the House and the Senate, and it’s something I’m proud to encourage folks to vote for."

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Slavica / iStock)

AKA

Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

Official Title

To provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2023, and for other purposes.

    As a Senior Citien I have worked for over 40 years and we should be getting a supplement of SNAp so that we won't have to choose getting food or our medicines. Why should the Seniors have to suffer and beg for food when our taxpapers money is taking care of everyone else. It;s our turn to be be taken care of.
    Like (185)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to OPPOSE this bill. Some examples of the harm this bill would do: 1) encouraging profligate pesticide use by preempting state pesticide laws, weakening federal protections for wildlife and endangered species from pesticides, exempting pesticides from the Clean Water Act, expediting EPA approval of pesticides without agreed-to protections, and delaying EPA pesticide protections; 2) adding work requirements to recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), targeting food access for struggling families; 3) weakening low-income children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, allowing schools to instead buy junk food with no restrictions on added sugar, salt or fats; 4) eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program, leaving farmers with fewer resources and options to implement conservation on their farms; 5) allowing mining and oil and gas drilling on agricultural conservation lands; and 6) weakening protection of endangered species from logging.
    Like (370)
    Follow
    Share
    Most of what this terrible bill does is cut SNAP—another travesty to starve poor people— destroy environmental protections to poison the earth and kill more helpless animals assuming them, like poor people, to be things. This is misnamed. It is the Evil Destruction bill.
    Like (242)
    Follow
    Share
    My two major concerns with this bill are the major cuts proposed to the food stamp program along side major funding cuts for our local farmers. Plenty of people who work unfortunately are still depending on food stamps but taking them away is not going to help anyone receive more pay in order to afford food. If wages would be raised in order to meet up with inflation, not so many people would be dependent on the program. As for our local farmers if their funding gets cut then think about the cost of shipping food from non-local Farms and it’s going to increase everyone’s cost share including in the grocery store. If we would fund local farms, prices in grocery stores may decrease.
    Like (151)
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    Just as the benefactors of the tax budget, the benefactors of this bill will be the big corporations, not the farmers. So far, only the lobbyists have had your ear and have lined your pockets. I urge our representatives to bring forth farmers and their families for their opinion. I believe their testimony and voice carries all the weight in addressing this bill.
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    When the GOP 'reforms' anything be very afraid. It means taking a meat ax to regulations and social programs like SNAP that serve the public good, all so their corporate donors, who are already doing phenomenally well, can literally and financially make a killing.
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    Cuts to SNAP, deregulation of pesticides, gutting protections for farmers... just STOP! This bill is made of hate and stupidity. This is just another example of the Profit over People mentality. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS.
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    Stop this “other issues” and work on GUN CONTROL. More children killed today and still no action from Congress. If you do not address this issue will be voting everybody out. The good, the bad and the ugly.
    Like (46)
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    It is hardly fair to require one to work in order for them to be able to eat--being able to provide for oneself is a fundamental human right, regardless of whether or not we have fallen on hard times. Of course, we really should be transitioning to a universal basic income anyways.
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    I know my representatives will vote no ! This bill is disastrous to the environment protections sustainability water air everything important to life on earth . Please vote no ! No to donors
    Like (31)
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    Shame on the Democrats who are opposing everything good for this country because they don't want any successes for President Trump. There's a special place in hell for these Legislators who care nothing about the people they represent.
    Like (30)
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    So many provisions in this bill promote unhealthy eating, from the broken SNAP system to subsidized corn.
    Like (26)
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    Has Dow chemical paid Michael Cohen or another lobbyist to make sure they wrote this bill? Hmmmm maybe we should have the house members work a minimum wage job 60 hours a week and then have to apply for food stamps to feed their families for a month. Let’s have these Congressmen and Congresswomen take care of their children, aged parents and have time to work for minimum wage and see how they feel at the end of the month. Right to work only helps corporations pay lower wages and take food out of the mouths of the poor. Shame on all of you who vote yes on this bill.
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    SNAP-is all important in itself! Therefore SNAP deserves to be treated alone, and not Hidden in the bulk of this Bill. Here, SNAP is lost and recipients ‘screwed’, to put it politely. Do your job...Fairly.
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    This bill does not reform SNAP. It simply prays on the most vulnerable in society. Forcing people to work for welfare is more akin to slavery. Most people on SNAP are already working anyway.
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    SNAP regulations/laws should be separate from this bill and CLEARLY written. EPA needs to have a say in this (long term scientist employees- not politically appointed department heads). More protections for the farmer - especially the small farmer. Bills need to be separate because when lumped together they hide many negative aspects of a bill.
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    Any bill that makes it harder for the working poor to access food assistance should be REJECTED. If our nation can afford to give half it's budget to the military, it can afford to feed vulnerable citizens.
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    I oppose this current farm bill because it is cutting SNAP benefits. According to Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the current farm bill would significantly increase food insecurity. The billś proposed work requirements would create many barriers for low income families that already struggle to get and maintain stable employment. The current proposal would end up cutting benefits for a large number of families. In addition, the farm bill is subsidizing farmers who farm corn and soy, which are the major ingredients in processed food. The government should put more funding into the organic farmers, so that they can make organic crops, which are healthier for the people and the environment.
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    This farm bill will make life much harder on animals!
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    Don’t cut snap. Keep food stamps/snap. Don’t offer cheap ineffective insurance plans. It undercuts the law of the land. - - There are things in this bill that are unacceptable.
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