House Passes 2018 Farm Bill
Today, the House of Representatives passed the 2018 Farm Bill.
Congressman John Moolenaar voted for the Farm Bill and made the following statement on the legislation:
“This Farm Bill is crucial for the 15,000 farmers in my district who grow the food Michiganders enjoy every day. It helps them plan for the future and do the incredibly difficult work of tilling the land and raising livestock. Agriculture is one of our state’s key industries and this legislation will help ensure that for years to come.
“The legislation will also help residents in our communities by providing federal funding and grants for rural infrastructure and expanding rural broadband access. Our country has many economic needs and the Farm Bill will make sure rural communities receive infrastructure aid just like the suburbs and major cities.
“Finally, I support the new work requirement for food stamps. With the economy doing well and unemployment under four percent, there are currently more job openings than there are job seekers. It’s never been a better time to find a job or to enroll in training to learn the skills needed for a good-paying job.”
Congress passes a Farm Bill every five years to help American farmers with certainty as they plan their operations for the years ahead. Today’s bill also provides significant support to America’s rural communities to meet the unique challenges they face.
Beginning Farmers: The bill includes several provisions that will help new farmers begin operations. This will help recruit new farmers and allow them to establish themselves in an industry with prohibitive costs to entry.
Crop Insurance: The legislation reauthorizes the crop insurance program helping mid and northern Michigan farmers plan for unforeseeable weather than can ruin a whole season of crops.
Food Stamp Reform: The legislation makes reforms to the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. The legislation adds a work requirement for able-bodied adults between ages 18-59 to either hold a job for 20 hours a week or enroll in job training. Senior citizens, persons with disabilities and adults caring for children are exempt from the work requirement. A work requirement for food stamps enjoys broad support in the Fourth District.
Infrastructure: The legislation authorizes billions in funding for rural infrastructure projects and also increases access to credit for rural communities to finance additional projects. This also includes $100 million to rebuild dams and flood protection infrastructure.
Opioid Crisis: The legislation empowers the Secretary of Agriculture to prioritize rural community development projects that will spur access to telehealth services and build medical facilities.
Rural Broadband: The legislation benefits rural communities with infrastructure initiatives and more than $582 million in yearly funding to improve rural Internet access.
Further details on the legislation can be found at https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/.