Issue Update: Farm Bill Follies
We know the rural-urban divide is growing larger with the majority of the population now three or more generations removed from a farm or ranch. This fact rang true last month as the 2018 Farm Bill became the latest casualty of this knowledge gap.
Congress failed to pass a farm bill on a 198 for and 213 against vote. It was no small task getting this legislation to a vote; there were over 100 amendments offered to H.R. 2 that had to be dealt with before the final vote could take place. This vote came as a major blow—Farm Bureau worked hard to ensure only amendments we supported were added to the farm bill and kept harmful amendments from being added.
Several of the amendments added to H.R. 2 have a direct impact on Montana agriculture:
- Federal Communications Task Force to review connectivity and technology needs for precisions ag
- Expedited salvage operations for areas burned by wildfire
- Streamlined process for signing up for Agricultural Risk Policy and Price Loss Coverage
- WOTUS repeal
Farm Bureau was able to stop harmful amendments that would have hurt our state’s sugar beet growers.
The Good News
Another vote on H.R.2 has been scheduled for June 22, but there is a possibility the vote could happen before that date. The Senate has released their version of the farm bill and announced they will consider it as early as Wednesday. The release of the Senate version might be a positive prompt encouraging the House to move their process along and take action soon.
With the extension of the vote comes more time for opposition groups to work at flipping votes and stopping the Farm Bill yet again. We are in the final stretch and need to swiftly and loudly communicate the importance of this farm bill to Congress. Representative Greg Gianforte stood by Montana’s farmers and ranchers and supported H.R. 2; tell him thanks!
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