Breaking News: Farm Bill Update

Farm Bill
( MGN Image )

On Monday afternoon, the Senate voted 89-3 to limit debate on the 2018 Farm Bill, reports Joy Philippi, and columnist on policy for Farm Journal’s PORK. She says Majority Leader Mitch McConnell placed the bill on the Senate calendar, and floor debate will begin on Tuesday.

“There’s still no official word on amendments that may be offered,” Philippi says. “Unless something unexpected blows things up, the Farm Bill should not face a lot of opposition. The real battle will be in the conference committee over the nutrition title programs.”

At the World Pork Expo earlier this month, Philippi heard a good friend say, “Predicting farm policy is a lot like sorting hogs. Just when you think you’re done, you notice the back gate was open.”

That’s certainly been the case with the 2018 Farm Bill thus far.

“After several weeks of uncertainty and one day short of the June 22, 2018 deadline to reconsider, the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2018 Farm Bill,” Philippi says. “The 213-211 votes moved H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, on to the conference committee with the Senate.”

Before the farm bill vote, Republican leadership scheduled a roll call vote on the conservative immigration bill written by judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte, Philippi reports. The measure did not clear the house, but she notes the vote was enough to sway the votes of eight Freedom Caucus members that opposed the bill in May.

“All Democrats and 20 Republicans continue to oppose the bill,” she says. “Work requirements and other changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program qualifications cemented those opposing votes.”

Farm Bill Important to Pork Producers
“The passage of this bill is critically important for the pork industry,” Philippi says. “The inclusion of funding for an FMD vaccine bank is a positive step in the right direction for livestock producers.”

You can read more about policy issues that are important to producers in the upcoming July-August issue of Farm Journal’s PORK.