A farm bill cleared the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in a 20-1 vote today. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, noted intentions to bring the bill before the full Senate prior to the Fourth of July recess.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker said farmers will benefit from the Senate’s dedication to passing a farm bill before current legislation expires Sept. 30.
“Farmers are looking for support in uncertain market and trade conditions,” said Walker, the Federation’s National Legislative Programs director. “Advancing the bill out of committee is an important step in passing a timely farm bill that will help the nation’s producers.”
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 largely preserves the 2014 farm bill’s structure without increasing or cutting overall costs.
In the U.S. House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, said he will support the farm bill because GOP leadership resolved actions on unrelated immigration policy. The next House farm bill vote is June 22.
The first farm bill was enacted by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 and is reauthorized every few years. The bill provides farmers a measure of protection from agriculture’s inherent instability, though80 percent of the bill’s costs go toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).