Dairy cows

President Donald Trump signed a $867 billion farm bill on Thursday to reauthorize agriculture and conservation programs. The bill did not make cuts to the food stamp program, according to the Associated Press.

The farm bill is estimated to cost approximately $400 billion over the next five years, or $867 billion over the next 10 years, an AP report stated.

According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, “This is a great day for our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, as President Trump’s signature on this bill is a Christmas present to American agriculture.  Farmers take financial risks every year as a matter of doing business, so having a farm bill in place gives them peace of mind to make their decisions for the future.  Since early talks on this farm bill began back in 2017, I’ve always believed it would be more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, and that has borne out to be true.”

Perdue also praised the bolstering of farm safety net programs and protection of federal crop insurance as well as rural development and research initiatives.

Perdue referenced improvements to the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers and a new Animal Disease Prevention and Management program, including a new vaccine bank for foot-and-mouth disease and funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

“While we would have liked more progress on forest management reforms and work requirements for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, we look forward to using our authorities to make improvements in those areas,” Perdue said in a statement.  “All told, this is a Farm Bill that should be welcomed by producers, and at USDA we will eagerly implement its provisions.”

The American Soybean Association applauded the signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. ASA leaders Davie Stephens, president and Kentucky soy grower, and John Heisdorffer, chairman and grower from Iowa, were among those attending the farm bill signing ceremony Thursday afternoon at the White House.

“This is a success for agriculture to have this legislation passed before the end of the year,” Stephens said. “We appreciate the level of assurance the bill provides and will now be able to better focus on working with the Administration and Congress on other issues affecting the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. beans.”

The association’s statement on the action also included praise for “provisions in the bill that maintain the ARC and PLC program; a strong crop insurance program; funding for the Foreign Market Development program and Market Access Program within the Agriculture Trade and Facilitation Program; baseline funding of the Rural Energy for America Program; acreage limit increases for the Conservation Research Program; continued authorization for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and support of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine consensus report data; and enactment of the Ag Connectivity Provision that expands rural broadband connections, including mobile coverage.”

Kansas Corn Growers Association Greg Krissek also welcomed the news in a statement and thanked members of Congress for their efforts in crafting the legislation. He also thanked corn growers who participated in stressing the importance of a new farm bill to legislators.

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