WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman David Rouzer joined members of the House Committee on Agriculture on Thursday in unveiling H.R. 2 — the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, which funds vital farm programs through 2023. The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 works to address the five-year, 52-percent decline in farm income by providing certainty that a simple extension of current policy cannot provide.
“North Carolina is blessed to be one of the most agriculturally diverse states in our great country,” Rouzer said. “Unfortunately, farm families throughout America have had to weather a 5-year recession, depressed prices resulting in a 52-percent drop in net farm income. The 2018 Farm Bill seeks to strengthen the farm safety net and makes other important improvements to current law that will benefit our rural communities, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance the environment.”
Additionally, H.R. 2 streamlines and reduces regulatory burdens, significantly improves access to rural broadband, helps communities meet the challenges of the opioid crises, and maintains vital nutrition assistance for those who truly need it while increasing opportunities for these recipients to receive workforce training, get a job and improve lives.
“This Farm Bill is the result of three years of legislative work, and I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee to put forth this common-sense bill,” said Rouzer. “We have the safest, most affordable food supply in the world, and this farm bill will provide the stability and certainty that our farm families need so this outstanding record can continue.”
The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018:
— Spends $112 billion less than what the 2014 Farm Bill was projected to spend;
— Reauthorizes and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options through 2023;
— Makes 35 improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by assisting those who struggle to put food on the table, while providing critical job training to help recipients learn the skills necessary to attain better-paying jobs and better futures for themselves and their families. Under the Farm Bill, work capable adults (age 18-59) are required to either work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week in order to receive any benefit. Excluded from these requirements are seniors, disabled individuals, those caring for children under six, or those who are pregnant;
— Streamlines and reduces regulatory burdens;
— Authorizes $1.1 billion in annual appropriations to provide broadband service to harder-to-serve rural areas to help promote jobs and economic activity in rural America;
— Provides the Secretary of Agriculture the necessary tools to help combat the ongoing opioid crises;
— Provides $450 million to enhance the USDA’s ability to identify, diagnose and respond to potential animal disease outbreak, including $150 million in year one to establish a new U.S.-only vaccine bank with priority for stockpiling Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine;
— Strengthens the investment in locally-led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation on working lands to promote healthy soils, reduce erosion, provide cleaner air and water, and enhance wildlife and wildlife habitat; and,
— Requires further research and development to create risk management products that work more effectively for farm families affected by hurricanes or other disasters.