Dec 11, 2018
ASA today congratulated the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and Congressional leadership on release of a conference report that reflects a broad consensus of support for the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.” ASA strongly supports this legislation and urges the House and Senate to approve it this week so it can be enacted before Congress adjourns for the year.
“Enactment of a new farm bill on schedule has been a top ASA priority for the last two years,” stated ASA President Davie Stephens, a soybean farmer from Clinton, Ky. “This legislation will provide the risk management tools farmers need to navigate difficult economic conditions over the next five years. It provides full funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Program – key partnerships under which ASA and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service work to expand developing and emerging country markets.” Stephens continued, “We commend Chairmen Conaway and Roberts and Ranking Members Peterson and Stabenow for finding compromises on several contentious issues, and urge President Trump to give his endorsement so this much-needed legislation can be delivered to farmers, ranchers and all rural Americans.”
Stephens’ remarks followed release of the joint House-Senate conference report that will extend authorization and funding for a broad spectrum of programs affecting producers and consumers of food, feed, fiber and fuel, not only in the United States, but also overseas programs that aid U.S. producers. Spread across 13 titles, the farm bill provides assurances to all Americans that the federal government will continue to provide assistance, when needed, through farm income support programs, nutrition and feeding programs, and through conservation, rural development, agricultural research, energy, and international agricultural development and food aid programs. Provisions in the bill important to soybean farmers include the following:
“ASA applauds the improvements in Title I support programs, including giving producers the option to choose between the county ARC and PLC programs in four of the five years of the new bill. This will allow farmers to respond to increased volatility in overseas markets and prices in coming years,” Stephens said. The ASA president added that, “The increase in the soybean loan rate will benefit farmers who need to access low-interest financing for their 2019 and future crops.”
ASA is hopeful the bill will be passed expeditiously before the lame duck 115th Congress adjourns, starting with House Rules Committee consideration on Tuesday afternoon.