By Jeff Helms
MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 18 — The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture today passed its version of the farm bill on a 26-20 party line vote.
The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 would reauthorize farm programs and direct the nation’s agricultural policy for five years. The bill, introduced last week, has been praised by farm groups for preserving a safety net for farmers while enhancing conservation and bringing greater accountability to nutrition spending.
Alabama Farmers Federation National Affairs Director Mitt Walker said today’s vote represents the first hurdle in a lengthy process.
“We are pleased to see the farm bill move forward and encourage Congress to finalize it this year so farmers can have confidence as they plan for the future,” Walker said. “We appreciate Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, listening to Alabama farmers and representing their interests on the Committee.”
The Federation’s farm bill advisory committee met Monday via teleconference and reviewed major provisions of the legislation. They agreed to write House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and express support for the the Committee’s consideration of the bill.
“We view this bill as the first step to ensuring the continuation of fiscally sound and effective farm policy for our members,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “The Federation stands ready to work with Chairman Conaway in passing a farm bill that provides meaningful and effective programs for American farmers and consumers.”
More than a dozen non-controversial amendments were accepted by Conaway. The committee also voted to accept two new provisions including one that supporters said would restore the integrity of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would prohibit states from imposing agricultural standards on products from other states. It would nullify California Proposition 2 adopted in 2008, which banned the sale of eggs produced in cages. Alabama and other states have sued California over the law.
A second amendment would prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.
For more information on the farm bill, including fact sheets, a summary and the full text of the legislation, visit https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/.