Columns

Blaine’s Bulletin: The Farm Bill is Headed to the President’s Desk

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Washington, December 14, 2018 | comments

This holiday season, families across America will gather around the table to enjoy wonderful holiday meals with their loved ones. As Americans, we are very fortunate to enjoy access to the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. During this season of reflection and thankfulness we must remember the hardworking farmers who work day in and day out to put food on our tables and in our grocery stores.

Over the last few years, Missouri’s nearly 100,000 farms have faced drought conditions and tariff uncertainty. Congress faced an uphill battle as we sought to protect the programs that are working, while providing our farmers with meaningful reforms they desperately needed. After months of bipartisan negotiations to reauthorize the Farm Bill, it is finally headed to the President’s desk.

I was proud to support this legislation to provide the certainty Missouri farmers deserve while investing in the future of our rural communities. Missouri’s third congressional district will benefit from many of the provisions included in this package.

The 2018 Farm Bill safeguards crop insurance, provides additional funding for animal disease prevention, and supports agricultural trade and research. Protecting more than 290 million acres across the nation, crop insurance is a sound investment that supports America’s abundant food supply. I know our Missouri soybean farmers needed this certainty after the drought conditions they faced, and I’m happy we were able to protect the program and make additional reforms. In meetings over the last few years, I have also heard from dairy farmers across our state who were worried about animal disease prevention. Thankfully, the 2018 Farm Bill includes additional funding for animal disease prevention and management initiatives, including the stockpiling of foot-and-mouth disease vaccines. Finally, the 2018 Farm Bill provides more than $400 million dollars in additional funding for ag trade, along with increased funding for land grant universities and special research initiatives to ensure we have the best and safest crops.

Rural America is the heart of our nation and the heart of Missouri’s third district. The 2018 Farm Bill prioritizes our rural communities, strengthening the Department of Agriculture’s capacity to combat the opioid crisis and making significant investments in rural broadband infrastructure. Rural broadband availability is one of the top issues my constituents bring to my attention, and this legislation includes forward looking standards to meet the needs of rural communities across the nation.

This Christmas, farmers are receiving the gift of certainty with a Farm Bill that prioritizes rural America and supports our Missouri farmers. As we gather for our holiday celebrations, I hope we all have a greater appreciation of those who work day in and day out to feed our nation and the world.

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