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Farm bill passes House by two-vote margin

Progressive Cattleman Associate Editor Carrie Veselka Published on 26 June 2018

After a heated debate, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the second version of the 2018 Farm Bill with a final vote of 213-211. The passage of the bill is a tentative victory for Republicans, but the battle will not be over till the Senate passes its version of the farm bill, which is expected to happen this week.

“American producers have greatly benefited from the policies of the Trump administration, including tax reforms and reductions in regulations; however, a farm bill is still critically important to give the agriculture community some much-needed reassurance,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a USDA news release. This reassurance is a big priority for Republicans and Democrats alike as the midterm season approaches, since no lawmaker wants to head into midterms without a farm bill to give farmers and ranchers some reassurance, especially given the potential backlash from the recent trade discussions.

The bill received applause from most of the agriculture industry. "Today’s vote means that American cattlemen and women are one step closer to having the certainty they need to continue running their operations and contributing to rural economies,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Kevin Kester in a NCBA news release.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) was instrumental in getting the farm bill through the House. “Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work,” he said after the passage of the bill. “It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a handout, but a hand up. I’m proud of what this body has accomplished and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”

Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) advocated the need for the farm bill as a safety net for the U.S. ag industry, calling farmers and ranchers America’s “thin green line,” representing the country’s food security and by extension, national security. “[The] farm bill offers a safety net for our farmers, our ranchers, our foresters; they need it to survive. Let’s get this done; let’s get it to the president to sign; and let’s get our farmers and ranchers back to work.”

Lawmakers hope to see the farm bill passed and signed well before the Sept. 30 deadline.  end mark

Carrie Veselka
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