MONTGOMERY, Ala. (December 12, 2018) -- The 2018 Agriculture and Nutrition Act, better known as the Farm Bill, passed the U.S. House and Senate. The bill covers agriculture subsidies, conservation, rural development and nutrition.
The Farm Bill reauthorizes farm programs and directs the nation’s agricultural policy for the next five years. The bill originally introduced in May 2018, had failed to pass.
The current legislation has been praised by farm groups for preserving safety nets for farmers while enhancing conservation and increasing USDA loan availability. One thing the bill doesn’t have is tighter work requirements for food stamp recipients, which was the sticking point during negotiations.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan explained that the farm bill protects more than just farmers. It serves to protect land and natural resources, develops new trade opportunities, levels the playing field for producers, strengthens rural communities and provides nutritious foods for underserved families.
“Alabama is blessed to have a congressional delegation in Washington that understands the importance of agriculture,” said McMillan. “Our nation's food security depends on strong agricultural policies that provide stability for America's farmers and ranchers.”
The bill passed the House with a 369-47 vote and passed the Senate with an 87-13 vote. The entire Alabama congressional delegation voted in favor. The bill now goes to President Trump for signature.
With the President’s signature, this will be the first time since 1990 that Congress has enacted the Farm Bill in the same year it was introduced. It would also be the first time since 2002, that the new Farm Bill was enacted in the same year that the old one expired.