For farmers, the farm bill is a very important piece of legislation.
You can read more about why we need it here.
Included in farm bills are the:
- commodity title (which builds a safety net underneath farmers who are growing something without having any idea what the market price will be when they market),
- crop insurance title (which builds a government-backed insurance program to protect farmers against risk),
- conservation title (which helps farmers integrate conservation programs into their farm management and not be penalized in other programs for doing so),
- trade (which helps America trade commodities freely with other countries),
- nutritional title (which feeds hungry Americans all over our nation), and
- several other titles like forestry, horticulture, research, and rural development that we pay a little less attention to in the corn industry.
The House farm bill that was passed last week included some interesting changes and updates to the previous bill.
The House maintained the two programs that existed before under the commodity title and made a few edits, mostly to improve the program and reduce administration costs.
The House increased conservation acres to 29 million and included ways to target the most fragile lands in the U.S in the conservation title.
The House established a new International Market Development Program which will be the umbrella over the trade programs we already understand and enjoy. This is important because one of the programs was set to expire in 2018 and now it will live on under this new program. Export is the number one market for Illinois corn so this is very important to us.
The biggest change was to the nutrition title. This new farm bill provides that work capable adults (ages 18-59) work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week. Exempted populations include seniors, disabled, those caring for children under six, or those who are pregnant. No one loses SNAP benefits unless they decline to work or decline free training to learn a skill. This is a huge change from the previous nutrition program and provided the bulk of the political discord over the passage of the bill.
The House Ag Committee produced a really great fact sheet on their recently passed farm bill if you’d like to learn more.
Now we just wait for the Senate to pass their version and see what changes they believe should be made in this important farm bill. Can’t wait!
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director