WASHINGTON, D.C. — Along party lines, all Republican members of Illinois congressional caucus supported H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, Thursday. No Illinois Democrats supported the the measure – including Cheri Bustos, whose 17th District includes substantial farming acreage. The bill now proceeds to the U.S. Senate for approval.
H.R. 2 reauthorizes and strengthens agriculture policy for the Department of Agriculture through 2023. It improves policies related to
- crop insurance,
- regulatory reform, and
- nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Agriculture is the top industry in the 18th District, and protecting our family farmers and helping people get to work across central and west-central Illinois must be a priority, which is why I was pleased to see this legislation pass the House today. This farm bill continues to protect crop insurance for our farmers, strengthens Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options to help provide more certainty in the farm economy, and protects our farmers against illegal trade practices by foreign countries,” LaHood said after the vote. “America’s farmers are feeding more people than ever before and this bill makes sure we are properly supporting our hard-working farmers across the 18th District and giving them the most opportunity to succeed.
“Furthermore, I was thrilled to see my amendment included to help cut more government red tape for our farmers. The amendment that was included is a commonsense way to keep both our agriculture safety net strong and streamline the requirements when signing-up for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Our approach already has had the support of the Illinois Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, and is the product of months of work with my Agricultural Advisory Board to ensure that farmers in our district and across the country will receive the regulatory relief they need to be able to focus on farming.”
Last month, Rep. LaHood spoke on the House floor in favor of his amendment. You can view his speech here.
Background on Rep. LaHood’s amendment
Under current law farmers must file every year even if no changes to their farming operation are made.
- Under the current 5-year Farm Bill, after electing ARC or PLC for the duration of the Farm Bill, regulation provides that through the FSA Farm Program contracts must be filed with the Commodity Credit Corporation annually for each payment year.
The legislation would change this practice to allow a “one and done” filing for the duration of the Farm Bill so long as no changes to farming operations are made.
- Under this legislation, once signed up for ARC or PLC, a farmer will only have to re-file a contract at the beginning of a new Farm Bill, which typically lasts five years. If there have been no changes to any of the required provisions/farm operation, a one-time sign up for eligibility for the commodity support program of choice will last for the duration of the Farm Bill for all requirements.
This does not apply to other annual filing requirements.
More about the 2018 Farm Bill from LaHood's office
Nutrition & Workforce Development:
- The farm bill maintains vital nutrition assistance for those in need while making a historic commitment to helping recipients improve their outlook in life. With six million available jobs across the country, we want to assure that these resources are used for those in need, while able-bodied workers are helped into the workforce. For children, seniors age 60 and older, and the disabled – who represent nearly 2/3 of program participants – this requirement changes nothing. For those working who may not be at the point of removing themselves from SNAP, they continue on their path.
- The Agriculture & Nutrition Act of 2018 works to address the 5-year, 52-percent decline in the farm economy by providing certainty that an extension of current policy cannot provide. The bill reauthorizes and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options through 2023.
- Given escalating use of illegal trade actions by foreign countries, the farm bill stands by our nation’s farmers and ranchers, providing a strengthened safety net and authorizing and restoring funding for vital tools for trade promotion and market development. The farm bill also maintains long-standing legal authority for the secretary to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers affected by unfair foreign trading practices
How Illinois Congress members voted on H.R. 2 June 21, 2018