ARA: 2018 Farm Bill Update

Last week, the House passed a motion to proceed to conference with the Senate regarding the Farm Bills passed in both chambers. ( MGN )

Last week, the House passed a motion to proceed to conference with the Senate regarding the Farm Bills passed in both chambers. The Senate will likely agree to the motion sometime this week. In so doing, the conferees from both chambers will need to agree on which portions of each bill will be included in a conference agreement prior to final passage.


Click here to view the full list of House conferees.

The Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill is mostly an extension of current law, with a few adjustments, while the House version contains significant regulatory reforms which ARA supports including:

  • A fix for the duplicative National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirement;
  • Much needed improvements to the pesticide registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including EPA;
  • Recognition of the exclusive role of state lead agencies; and
  • Language on cooperative federalism advancing states as coregulators in the federal regulatory process.

A few other key differences in the two bills:

  • Both versions offer a one-time election for the Average Crop Revenue (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
  • The House version makes the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
  • The Senate version capped the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) at 25 million acres – an increase of 1 million acres but reduced the land rates to 85.5 percent of the average county rental rates. The House version capped CRP ay 29 million acres at 80 percent of the average rental rates.
  • The Senate version added $200 million in additional funding to the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR). No increases in the House bill.
  • Both bills placed a number of trade programs at USDA under one mechanism for funding with the Senate’s version creating a new Priority Trade Promotion, Development, and Assistance program.
  • The most contentious difference between the two bills are the work requirements within the Nutrition Title of the House Farm Bill.

For section-by-section highlights of the two bills, click here for the Senate bill and here for the House bill. For more information, please contact Hunter Carpenter at hunter@aradc.org.
 

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