The 2018 Farm Bill moved quickly through Congress last week, winning overwhelming bipartisan support from members of the U.S. House (369-44) and U.S. Senate (87-13) and heading to President Trump’s desk.
Approval of a new farm bill has been a top priority for Land O’Lakes, Inc. and our members in recent months. From events with Congressional leaders to member fly-ins, Land O’Lakes members and staff have worked hard to keep up a steady drumbeat of support for approval of a new farm bill this year.
The final product is good news for Land O’Lakes, Inc. and our members, accomplishing a range of key policy priorities. These include:
Maintaining a reliable farm safety net and a dependable crop insurance program.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorizes critical farm safety net programs that support producers facing difficult economic circumstances, with additional improvements and flexibility regarding Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The bill also maintains a strong crop insurance program, an effective and necessary safety net tool for producers nationwide.
Improving dairy programs to help struggling dairy farm families.
A new Dairy Margin Coverage program (formally MPP) in the Farm Bill includes major improvements for dairy – providing better coverage levels, lower premiums, and more flexibility for dairy farmers. This is an important step toward providing relief from difficult economic conditions faced by dairy producers, and ensuring a straightforward, easy-to-use dairy program.
Enhancing conservation programs to bolster farmer-led stewardship.
Working in concert with leaders in the House and Senate, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN led the way to include important conservation policy changes in the Farm Bill. As a result, the bill expands the capacity of farmer-owned cooperatives and ag retailers to deliver conservation programs, enhances the use of ag tech in precision conservation, strengthens public-private conservation partnership and creates a Conservation Innovation Trial and Soil Health program to incentivize new, farmer-led approaches to conservation.
Bolstering support to maintain and expand markets for agricultural exports.
The 2018 Farm Bill continues funding for trade programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), which help to develop export market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products.
Helping farm families coping with mental health issues and stress.
The Farm Bill authorizes a new Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network to provide eligible entities with funding and coordination to address mental health concerns for producers in rural America.
Continuing programs to assist developing nations with food security.
The Farm Bill maintains funding for essential international food aid and food security programs, such as Food for Peace, Food for Progress and Farmer-to-Farmer.
These are just a few of the many programs and priorities addressed by the 2018 Farm Bill. From rural development, to conservation, to nutrition and beyond, the Farm Bill impacts every American, every day. A 2018 Farm Bill was especially important for U.S. farmers, rural businesses and rural communities – and thanks to leadership and hard work by Members of Congress from both parties, especially those on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, we head into 2019 with the certainty of a new Farm Bill.
Attention now turns to implementation of the bill. Land O’Lakes will continue to be closely engaged with U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies charged with carrying out key programs under the 2018 Farm Bill, especially on adjustments to the dairy safety net.
Stay tuned for future updates on the new Farm Bill and its programs. In the meantime, members with questions about the new bill can email the Land O’Lakes, Inc. government relations staff by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.