Farm bill fails to pass House; rural America wins, for now

Today, the House of Representatives failed to pass H.R. 2, its draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill. Representatives voted 198 in favor and 213 against.

This is a win for rural America, as the bill’s proposals were a giant step in the wrong direction.

The draft included eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program and cut funds for working lands conservation by nearly $5 billion over 10 years.

The bill also proposed a troubling set of rollbacks to common-sense limitations on subsidy payments, and created loopholes for the largest operations to access unlimited subsidy payments.

Finally, the bill aimed to slash funding for programs that spark rural economic development including the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Program. These programs facilitate the development of rural businesses, and their loss would have been sorely felt in rural America.

The House Agriculture Committee passed its draft of the bill on April 18. This week, lawmakers considered 106 amendments and discussed the bill on the House floor.

Thankfully, these proposals will not be moving forward. America needs a bipartisan farm bill that supports rural communities.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, 2018.