Farm Bill ‘Takes Serious Steps to Ensure the Future of American Agriculture’
‘Last evening, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance H.R. 2 -- the farm bill. The reason it has reached the floor in its current form, ready for consideration, amendments, and ultimately passage by the full Senate, is the leadership of Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow. They’ve carried on the committee’s proud tradition of focusing on substance and putting partisanship aside.’
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:
“Last evening, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance H.R. 2 -- the farm bill. The reason it has reached the floor in its current form, ready for consideration, amendments, and ultimately passage by the full Senate, is the leadership of Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow. They’ve carried on the committee’s proud tradition of focusing on substance and putting partisanship aside.
“As the proud senior senator from Kentucky, I know exactly how important this legislation is to agricultural communities in my home state and around the nation. Kentucky has 12.8 million acres dedicated to agriculture. That includes about a billion dollars in soybean production, last year alone; About three-quarters of a billion dollars in corn; And hundreds of millions of dollars in the production of hay and tobacco. Just to name a few.
“These crops are only part of the story. Our leading agricultural commodity is poultry, a billion-plus-dollar industry that employs about 7,000 Kentuckians on its own. These are just a few examples of what Kentucky farmers bring to the country, and the world. Despite the impressive scale, we’re a state that’s dominated by small farms. They form the backbone of rural communities throughout Kentucky.
“But our farm families and those across rural America face a lot of uncertainty: Natural disasters, from droughts to floods, unstable world markets, and falling commodity prices. Earlier this year, the USDA Economic Research Service forecast that net farm income is in the process of falling to a 12-year low.
“The farmers that feed and support this country are counting on us to provide the predictability and certainty of a long-term farm bill. So my colleagues and I on the Agriculture Committee have produced a farm bill that shows America’s farmers that we understand their situation, share their concerns, and are taking action to address them.
“My colleagues from every corner of the country can be proud of this legislation. First and foremost, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 strengthens the safety measures that directly help commodity producers as they confront low prices. It also seizes a number of opportunities to invest in the future of American agriculture and rural communities.
“I’m particularly excited about the provision that would empower farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp, a crop that could play a key role going forward in Kentucky’s economy, and the nation’s. The bill also focuses on rural broadband, rural water infrastructure, and the fight against the opioid epidemic that has hit rural America hard.
“From top to bottom, this farm bill takes serious steps to ensure the future of American agriculture -- for the sake of our farmers, our rural communities, and the entire country. This week, my colleagues will have ample opportunity to consider the legislation before us. In a few days, I hope they will join me in voting to pass it.”