WASHINGTON–With the 2018 Farm Bill set to become law, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)— a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and a member of the conference committee that authored the final bill—delivered remarks on the Senate floor applauding passage of the legislation and thanking the conference committee leadership for including important provisions he authored.
While highlighting how important the farm bill is to Arkansas, Boozman praised the bipartisan leadership of the conference committee for its efforts to finalize a bill that will bring certainty and predictability for farmers, ranchers and all rural Americans. Boozman also thanked his colleagues for including provisions he authored, addressing a number of his priorities, in the final text.
“Sending this bill to the President is about as important as it gets for my state,” Boozman said. “I commend Chairmen Roberts and Conaway, as well as Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson, for their commitment to making this bill fair and equitable to the diverse needs of producers across all regions of the country. It was a heavy lift. They worked hard to ensure we would get this done before adjourning this Congress. I would also like to thank them for their willingness to include provisions that I advocated for in the conference report.”
Boozman priorities included in final version of 2018 Farm Bill
Providing a workable safety net for farmers and ranchers: The farm bill strengthens and reauthorizes many programs important for producers, including Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and crop insurance. The improvements made to these programs ensure that producers across the country have a meaningful safety net with reduced regulatory and paperwork burdens.
Eliminating waste and abuse within Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): The federal government partners with states to administer SNAP and currently pays bonuses to states that administer the program satisfactorily. Unfortunately, states have exaggerated performances to receive bonuses. The conference report includes language championed by Boozman to eliminate all state performance bonuses in SNAP. This will save taxpayers $48 million per year.
Trade promotion funding for agriculture products in Cuba:This provision, championed by Boozman and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), is a big win for Arkansas farmers and ranchers, who have consistently been working to open up more access to the Cuban market. Cuba imports 80 percent of its food, and our farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality, lowest cost and safest food in the world. U.S. commodity exporters will now be able to use U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) market promotion funding in Cuba. These federal programs, which offset the high cost of market promotion, will no longer treat Cuba differently from other markets.
Promoting jobs for veterans in agriculture:The Veterans and Beginning Farmers Technical Assistance Act(S.2573), introduced by Boozman and Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), was included in the farm bill. It reauthorizes the Appropriate Technical Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program, which has a regional headquarters in Fayetteville, Arkansas and helps veterans who want to get started in agriculture by providing specialized training through its “Armed to Farm” program. Boozman also secured language to ensure that USDA’s Military Veterans Agriculture Liaison better serves veterans who want to be involved in agriculture.
Regulatory reform:The farm bill includes two provisions that will provide much needed clarity to regulations. One, included at the behest of Boozman and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), adds live fish, crawfish, llamas and alpacas to the definition of livestock used by the Department of Transportation to bring more clarity for livestock producers and haulers. A second provision authored by Boozman protects USDA’s BioPreferred regulations, which aim to assist in the development and expansion of markets for biobased products, from unnecessary overreach by other agencies.
Research and development in crop insurance:Boozman secured a provision in the farm bill that directs USDA to conduct research and development to include innovative irrigation practices for rice, like alternate wetting and drying and furrow irrigation, under the current rice crop insurance policy.
Honoring multi-generational family farms:The Century Farms Act, introduced by Boozman and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to recognize farms that have been in continuous operation for 100 or more years, was included as a provision in the farm bill. This provision directs USDA to establish a program to recognize farms that have been in continuous operation by the same family for one hundred or more years.
Original article source: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/12/boozman-praises-ag-committee-leadership-highlights-priorities-in-farm-bill-as-legislation-set-to-become-law | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council