2018 Farm Bill Moves Forward


Washington, D.C. – Today the House passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), critical legislation to address the economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making significant investments in opportunities for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Upon passage, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the following remarks: 

“Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work. It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up. I’m proud of what this body has accomplished, and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”

The House voted on a straight party-line vote to reconsider the farm bill. The bill passed very narrowly at 213-211. Twenty Republicans opposed the bill, compared to 30 the first time a vote was held on May 18th. When the farm bill was first considered it failed after the conservative Freedom Caucus, voted against the bill on an otherwise party-line vote. The Freedom Caucus held up the bill over demands for a floor vote on a conservative immigration reform bill. That immigration bill was  considered on the floor today, but failed to get the necessary votes.

Following today’s passage, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statement: 

“The partisan approach of the Majority has produced a bill that simply doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve. It still leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable, it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities. The only upside to its passage is that we’re one step closer to conference, where it’s my hope that cooler heads can and will prevail. The Senate’s version isn’t perfect, but it avoids the hardline partisan approach that House Republicans have taken here today, and if it passes, I look forward to working with conferees to produce a conference report both parties can support, which is the only way to get a farm bill enacted into law.”


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester issued the following statement in response to the bill passing: 

“Today’s vote means that American cattlemen and women are one step closer to having the certainty they need to continue running their operations and contributing to rural economies. We are glad the House-passed bill addresses a number of priorities for producers, including authorization and funding for a national vaccine bank that prioritizes Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) prevention. The bill also strengthens conservation programs and improves USDA’s foreign market development activities. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and all those who voted ‘yes’ deserve a great deal of thanks for their support.”


National Farmers Union (NFU), who stood in opposition to the current form of the bill, is calling for continued improvement of the bill throughout the conference committee process that will occur should the U.S. Senate approve its version of the farm bill. NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the vote: 

“Farmers Union is disappointed by many components of the House’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill. Family farmers and consumers alike require strong safety nets, farm sustainability measures, and accessible markets. The need is especially pronounced as farmers struggle amidst a prolonged downturn in the farm economy and significant market volatility as a result of tensions with international trading partners. We stand ready to work with members of Congress throughout the conference process to improve this legislation to meet the needs of family farmers and our food system.”


The House farm bill has an uphill road to becoming law though, that’s because the Senate has authored a bipartisan bill that does not include food stamp reform. The Senate is expected to vote as soon as next week on its bipartisan farm bill. President Trump has said he would consider a veto to any bill that does not include those reforms.


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