Farm Bill is a Victory for American Agriculture
‘Now, the time has come to deliver. The farm bill is too important a subject to keep our farmers and their families waiting. After all, the groups charged with advocating on their behalf overwhelmingly support it. More than five hundred industry groups and advocates representing agriculture, food, nutrition, hunger, forestry, conservation, faith-based and research interests have already publicly backed the Senate bill.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the 2018 Farm Bill:
“We hope to wrap up our consideration of the farm bill, a victory for American agriculture. All week, I’ve highlighted some of the ways this important legislation will support the family farmers whose harvest feeds America and supplies the world. It’s an understatement to say this bill comes at an opportune time.
“American farm communities need stability and predictability -- and they need it urgently. The industry is filled with uncertainty. There are volatile world markets. There are persisting low commodity prices. There are natural disasters beyond their control. All these things make it harder for our growers to go about their business. They depend on the kind of long-term certainty that this legislation will provide.
“This subject is extremely important to me, as the proud senior senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and as a member who has served on the Agriculture Committee since my first day in office. Agriculture is in the bones of our state. It’s a huge part of who we are. From soybeans and corn to hay and tobacco to poultry and livestock, Kentucky agriculture encompasses a multi-billion-dollar industry that supports thousands and thousands of good jobs in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth.
“Kentuckians know as well as anyone just how important American agriculture is -- and we understand as well as anyone all the unique challenges that it faces. That’s why I’m proud to support this bill, which will bolster the safety net programs for our producers. It will also enhance infrastructure investment in rural communities, on everything from local water projects to broadband internet to helping curb the drug epidemic in rural America. And it gets Washington out of farmers’ way in areas where bureaucracy is holding them back.
“One such area is industrial hemp. Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp. But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.
“Fortunately, this farm bill will change that. It builds on the success of the pilot program I helped initiate five years ago, and will break down the major federal barriers that prevent American farmers from fully exploring the burgeoning hemp market. When this becomes law -- subject to proper regulation and oversight -- U.S. producers will no longer be barred from this legitimate U.S. market.
“I’m also proud of how this farm bill has come about. The Chairman and Ranking Member assembled it through an exemplary, bipartisan committee process that included 73 amendments. Here on the floor, 18 more bipartisan amendments were adopted in the substitute amendment. It was my personal hope that we could’ve had even more amendment votes. But the Senate is a consent-based institution, and members have the ability to object. Nevertheless, the transparent and open leadership of Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow has been commendable.
“Now, the time has come to deliver. The farm bill is too important a subject to keep our farmers and their families waiting. After all, the groups charged with advocating on their behalf overwhelmingly support it. More than five hundred industry groups and advocates representing agriculture, food, nutrition, hunger, forestry, conservation, faith-based and research interests have already publicly backed the Senate bill.
“And nearly 70 such groups had this to say in a recent letter to Congress: ‘During a prolonged recession in agriculture, failure to pass a Farm Bill on time would undermine the financial security of America’s food, fuel, crop and fiber producers.’ The Senate must not fail that test. It’s time to pass the farm bill.”
Related Issues: Farm Bill