Clements: The 2018 farm bill approved by lawmakers last week continues the programs and tools farmers and ranchers depend on in the depressed economic times they are facing today. Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the bill should be in place by the end of this year.
Walmsley: We were quickly able to get a farm bill through the Senate with a strong vote, 87 senators in support, and then the next day the House follow-up, with 369 members supporting the 2018 farm bill. Now we wait this week for the President’s signature which we expect to be possibly Thursday, is the rumor. It’s really historic in the sense that we were able to pass the farm bill in the same year one was introduced.
Clements: Walmsley says the 2018 farm bill, called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, addresses the needs of modern agriculture.
Walmsley: It gives us five years of certainty on policy directions with risk management and crop insurance while also protecting spending for farm programming that is budget neutral. But, we’ve been also able to make improvements to the risk management programs that are in the commodity title, refinements to the ARC program and to PLC. We also see funding in there for trade development.
Clements: He credits the swift passage to the grassroots efforts of farmers and ranchers.
Walmsley: It was just so important from a mental standpoint to have a win at the end of the year, but we also avoid the need of having to start all over again in a new Congress. It’s incredible we got it done in a lame-duck. That’s the importance of farmers and ranchers being engaged in this process.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.