Farm bill draft makes few changes to farm programs
April 16, 2018
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, today released a farm bill draft that makes few changes to farm subsidy programs or crop insurance and some changes to conservation programs and the rest of the programs run by the Agriculture Department.
According to a summary of the bill released to reporters Wednesday but embargoed until today at 1:30 p.m., the bill would contain the following provisions title-by-title:
Title 1 would maintain the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage options for crop producers through 2023 and allow producers to change programs. It would also allow a new yield update and allow reference prices to adjust to improved market conditions.
Title 1 also maintains the sugar program.
Title II merges the Conservation Stewardship Program into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Title III maintains the Market Access Program, the Foreign Market Development Program, the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program; and the Emerging Market Development Program, bringing them under a single umbrella of the International Market Development Program.
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Title II also maintains current international food aid programs, retaining in-kind food aid.
Title IV makes major changes to the food stamp program. (See story above.)
Title V continues the beginning farmers and ranchers program even though that program did not have baseline funding.
Title VI maintains rural development programs including energy initiatives and gives the Agriculture secretary authority to prioritize assistance for communities facing opioid problems.
Title VII provides funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Organic Research & Extension Initiative. It also establishes new scholarships at 1890 land grant universities.
Title VIII reauthorizes the Landscape Scale Restoration Program directing the U.S. Forest Service and state forestry agencies to work together on critical challenges. It also expedites the Forest Service's ability to remove dead trees after fires.
Title IX maintains the Specialty Crop Block Grants Program and clarifies the role of state lead agencies in promulgating pesticide regulations.
Title X maintains and expands crop insurance.
Title XI establishes the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program designed to protect the health of the nation's livestock sector. The program is modeled on the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. It also provides $50 million for outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and military veterans.