Clements: The spending agreement sent through Congress this week includes several provisions supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation. RJ Karney, AFBF congressional relations director, says the agriculture spending bill includes much-needed disaster relief for farmers.
Karney: The ag spending bill includes $23.5 billion in discretionary funding, which is $451 million above fiscal year 2019 enacted levels. Included in the agricultural spending bill is a provision that retains $1.5 billion in disaster relief that was set to expire this calendar year. Congress repurposed that funding to expand assistance to farmers impacted by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.
Clements: Karney says the bill fully funds the Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network and continues USDA’s rural broadband efforts.
Karney: The Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network will benefit farmers who have been struggling from weather impacts, trade disruptions and low commodity prices. In addition, Congress provides funding for the ReConnect program which will expand broadband access to rural communities that are currently underserved.
Clements: Finally, Karney says the legislation renews an expired biodiesel tax credit.
Karney: We are also pleased to see Congress extend a $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit through 2022. That is a retroactive extension which will bring stability to producers after years of debate in Congress. Farm Bureau is grateful to members of Congress from both political parties who have worked on the spending legislation that will help farmers and ranchers in fiscal year 2020.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.