Both houses of Congress have passed the long-awaited farm bill, now the bill goes to President Trump for his signature.
U-S Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley split their votes on the farm bill with Ernst voting for the measure, and Grassley voting against it.
Ernst, who was on the conference committee, was asked if the farm bill is a good bill?
“The 2018 Farm Bill is very farmer focused, and I believe it is good news for Iowa, and so I do think it is a good thing,” said Ernst.
Ernst says the new farm bill has many components, including conservation measures, as well as supplemental food and nutrition programs for the underprivileged.
Many farm and commodity organizations had pushed Congress to retain the crop insurance provisions as part of the new farm legislation. Ernst says Congress recognizes the need to have a strong crop insurance program for America’s farmers. She says the crop insurance provision helps protect farmers against production yield loss, as well as with revenue losses.
“Well we continue on with a very strong crop insurance program, and that really is one of the most important parts of this piece of legislation, is the fact that we were able to maintain such a robust crop insurance program. And I made that one of my focuses as well. With that, we have to protect our farmers against adverse changes and market conditions. Not only are we watching Mother Nature, but also taking care of the markets as well. So, we end up at the end of the day with a very strong and robust crop insurance program.”
Iowa’s other U-S Senator, Chuck Grassley, a farmer by profession, voted against the measure.
Grassley says the bill is a good bi-partisan measure, but he offers an explanation as to why he voted against the 2018 Farm Bill.
“But my vote was no for small reasons compared to the whole bill, but a big reason in my mind, because they left out something I have gotten through the United States Senate 2008…2014…2018 farm bill. To limit what one farmer can get from the farm program, and limit it to one manager per farm, and to make sure that manager is what we call, under the law, actively engaged in farming,” said Grassley.
Grassley’s provision to limit payments was not included in the final farm bill version. Grassley says the new farm bill will make it more difficult for young and beginning farmers to get established.
The farm bill now goes to the president, and it is expected President Trump will sign the farm bill sometime this week.