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AG Notes

Press Release | 115th Congress
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Ranking Member Peterson’s Floor Statement on Consideration of the Farm Bill Conference Report

December 12, 2018
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson delivered the following statement today during consideration on the House floor of  H.R.2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018:
[As prepared for delivery]
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Conference Report on H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
“The conference report we are considering today would reauthorize farm bill programs for five years. The 2014 farm bill expired on September 30th, and while the road to get here had a few bumps along the way, I’m glad that we were finally able to reach an agreement.  Now it’s time to get this done.
“During a time when rural America is facing a downturn in the farm economy and a trade war that’s taking its toll on crop, livestock and dairy producers from coast to coast, this bill will provide needed certainty to farmers and ranchers.
“The bill continues a variety of commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, energy and specialty crop programs.  It also provides permanent mandatory funding for several of the programs that first got mandatory funding in the 2008 farm bill, when I was chairman.  These include the Local Food & Farmers Market Promotion Program, Value-Added Producer Grants, the BFRDP Program, Organic Research, and the Section 2501 Outreach Program.
“One of the most important pieces in this bill, however, is the improvement it makes for our dairy farmers. The economic downturn in farm country is hitting dairy hardest of all. In my home state of Minnesota and in neighboring Wisconsin, an average of two dairies are going out of business every day. The provisions in this bill will provide expanded, affordable coverage options and more flexibility for dairy farmers. I am proud to put my name on this program. 
“We are also providing $300 million in mandatory funding for animal disease programs at a time when our U.S. livestock industry is facing continued danger from unchecked threats. That money will go to increasing our ability to prevent and respond to animal pests and diseases that harm our animals and threaten the viability of our livestock operations.
“There are folks who have liked to have seen different directions taken on several issues in this bill, but this is a conference report, where the House and Senate figure out where the common ground is. 
“I am proud of the work we did together on this bill, and I am very appreciative of the hard work of the Majority and its staff, as well as my staff, under the direction of Anne Simmons and Troy Phillips.
“I would encourage my colleagues to support this effort, and I look forward to continuing the discussion on many of these issues in the next congress.”