After months of debate and one failed attempt, House Ag Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) victoriously crossed the finish line and got a farm bill out of the House today by the skin of his teeth. Across the board, the agriculture industry is thrilled.
Shortly after the 213-211 vote was announced, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sent the following Tweet.
As per usual, President Trump also shared his opinion on Twitter.
Ag groups agree with Trump. The bill is a widely considered win for farmers.
“Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America’s farmers and ranchers,” Zippy Duval, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation said in a statement. “As crafted by Chairman Conaway, this bill recognizes what is working well, but it also makes much-needed improvements in risk management and crop insurance programs at a time when farm-income levels have slumped to decade lows.”
In a statement following the House vote, Iowa farmer and American Soybean Association (ASA) President John Heisdorffer said this bill will provide the long-term certainty and stability that farmers need today.
“Right now, the economic future of our industry is clouded by low crop prices and farm income, and by volatility in foreign markets,” he said. “We call on the Senate to follow suit and pass its version of the farm bill next week so Congress can complete the 2018 farm bill in July.”
Similarly, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) took a moment to celebrate the passage of today’s bill in the House and then turned their attention to what will happen in the Senate next week.
“Today’s vote is a big step forward to seeing a new farm bill this year. The House farm bill maintains a robust crop insurance program, ensuring it continues to be a viable risk management tool for farmers across the country,” Kevin Skunes, a North Dakota farmer and president of NCGA said in a statement. “Now we will be looking toward the U.S. Senate and possible efforts to further strengthen the farm safety net, making it more equitable for our nation’s corn growers, as they bring the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.”
Next, the Senate must pass a version of the farm bill and then the two bills go to conference to be married into one bill. A process Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) doesn’t expect to happen very soon, according to Bloomberg.
“If history is any indication, we will not be done by Sept. 30 with the farm bill,” he told Bloomberg News on Thursday.
While there are stark partisan divides on the bill, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) believes that a bipartisan compromise can eventually be reached by Congress.
“Such an outcome is necessary to ensure producers and their lenders have a degree of price protection and predictability for the next five years,” ICBA president and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said in a statement. “Producers and other stakeholders in our rural communities need the safety net that a farm bill provides given the sharp drop in net farm income in recent years and the uncertainties over trade issues.”
As always not everybody is happy with the House farm bill. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) decided to vote against the bill today because she didn’t want to advance a partisan bill.
“We are in one of the toughest farm economies in a generation, and the Farm Bill is a critical tool in bettering our agricultural communities. That’s why I am disappointed that House Republican leadership chose to advance a blatantly partisan bill, and it is the reason I voted against this legislation today,” she said in a statement on Thursday. “The Farm Bill is too important for one party to go it alone, and it is my sincere hope that we can come together with the Senate in a bipartisan process and put forward a bill that strengthens the farm safety net and connects people to healthy and nutritious food.”
According to the Associated Press, Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said the House Farm Bill doesn’t do “enough” for the people “it’s intended to serve.”
“It still leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable, it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities," he said.
As of Thursday, he and Conaway were still not on speaking terms.