Agriculture groups see positives with new Farm Bill

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2018 at 6:08 pm

‘The 2018 Farm Bill is a major victory for New York’s farmers, rural communities and consumers.’ – David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau

Agriculture organizations say the new Farm Bill will provide a boost to farmers. Here are some of the reactions:

Statement from Richard A. Ball, commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:

“I am encouraged to see that we have been able to come together with a multi-year, comprehensive farm and nutrition package that will benefit all New Yorkers – in urban and rural areas, Upstate and Downstate.

“To ensure that New Yorkers were considered in this important legislation, the Department held a statewide listening session to gather input on what the 2018 Farm Bill should look like, and I am pleased that so much of what was brought to us from our stakeholders has been included in the final policy package. As a result, this timely legislation protects our dairy farmers, ensures nutrition assistance for those in need, industrializes hemp, protects our environment from invasive species, and more.

“Improving the functionality of dairy programs is critical to New York’s dairy farms. I am happy to see that the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) has been revamped as the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program. This improved program will expand coverage, increase flexibility, and allow dairy farms to take advantage of lower premiums. It will also provide greater enrollment options and will expand the margin. To address the losses of the failed MPP program, the Farm Bill provides an avenue for dairy operations to get a partial refund on what they paid in to the program from 2014 – 2017. Participants are eligible for either a 75% refund toward a new Dairy Risk Coverage program or 50% cash back.

“New York consumers are protected as well. SNAP recipients who were worried about losing coverage due to a change in work requirements can rest easy that they will still be able to put food on their family’s table. Additionally, farmers will continue to benefit from increased SNAP sales. It’s a true win-win.

“Finally, New York’s unique economy will continue to expand. The Farm Bill industrializes hemp and supports further research on the commodity, building on the progress New York and other states have made in cultivating this crop that provides new opportunities for our farmers and can fuel a multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill reflects the needs that our farmers and residents across the state voiced, and we are happy that their message was heard.”

David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau, issued this statement:

“The final vote for the 2018 Farm Bill is a major victory for New York’s farmers, rural communities and consumers. Farmers needed stronger risk management tools in place moving into next year where there are signs that the economic stress will continue in the farming community. In particular, the new Farm Bill enhances the dairy safety net for farms of every size, including increasing the margin that qualifies for federal insurance programs. New York Farm Bureau also appreciates the research and support programs in the bill that will benefit New York’s specialty crop producers. Having some certainty moving forward in challenging times is a relief for farmers.

“In addition, the Farm Bill supports critical conservation programs, rural development projects, and marketing and research programs to expand market opportunities for farmers. It legalizes industrial hemp which will benefit farms interested in diversification. And the legislation provides permanent funding to help veterans and a new generation of beginning farmers. The biggest portion of the Farm Bill also guarantees Americans, who can least afford to eat, the ability to access the food farmers produce.

“New York Farm Bureau is appreciative of New York’s lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives who supported the Farm Bill during this long process, resulting in the bi-partisan legislation that their constituents expect. We encourage the President to sign the Farm Bill.”

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp issued this statement:

“The certainty of a new Farm Bill is very welcome news for farmers as they begin to look toward the new year. NCGA is pleased to see a return to the bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of past farm bills and we look forward to the President quickly signing the bill into law.

“To put it bluntly, the farm economy stinks. Between depressed commodity prices, record low farm incomes and tariffs and trade uncertainty, farmers are facing difficult decisions. Getting the Farm Bill passed, and signed into law, is one less thing they need to worry about.

“NCGA is most pleased to see the bill maintains support for a robust crop insurance program, our organization’s top priority, and strengthens the ARC-CO program through administrative improvements including a one-time program change option, an increase to the plug yield for disaster years, the use of a trend-adjusted yield factor, and a market adjustment provision for the floor price. The bill also provides increased funding for trade promotion programs that are especially important to agriculture at this time.

“On behalf of our grower members, I thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, along with members of the farm bill conference committee for seeing this process through and passing a new bill before adjourning for the year.”

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