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U.S. Farm Bill moves to House

U.S. Farm Bill moves to House

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 20 to 1 in favor of the bill

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. legislators are one step closer to signing a Farm Bill into law.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 passed through the Senate agriculture committee with a vote of 20 to 1. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The current Farm Bill expires in September but lawmakers want to vote on the new bill before they break for their July 4 recess.

“We’ll turn to the Farm Bill before the fourth of July and I’m hopeful the House will get to theirs shortly, which will give us a chance to get into conference and actually make a law,” Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and senior member of the Senate agriculture committee, said during Farm Bill discussions yesterday.

Farm groups would also like to see the bill move quickly through the Senate.

“Farmers and ranchers are counting on our lawmakers to come together and pass the Farm Bill soon, followed quickly by the president’s signature,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement today.

Before approving the bill, the committee approved 66 amendments aimed at helping the American ag industry.

The amendments include increasing guaranteed operating and ownership loans from $1.39 million to $1.75 million, and authorizing funding to help develop an export market in Cuba.

Dairy producers, in particular, are pleased with some of the amendments.

The Senate ag committee agreed to reimburse dairy producers about $77 million in payments from the Margin Protection Program and raise the maximum covered margin to $9 per cwt.

“The leadership of Senators (Pat) Roberts and (Debbie) Stabenow has led to the creation of a bipartisan Farm Bill that has important provisions for dairy farmers during this prolonged period of low milk prices,” Jim Mulhern president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said in a statement yesterday.

“With the House also set to move on its version of the Farm Bill later this month, we are hoping a final measure will pass Congress by this fall.”

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