Daily Ag News Summary 02/12/2018

Cotton & Dairy Returns to Farm Bill

(DALLAS, TX) For the first time since the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill, cotton producers will be covered by the “safety net” of the 2014 Farm Bill. With just one year left under the current legislation, Congress passed a fix on Friday that allows farmers of the fourth largest crop in the United States to sign up for a program that provides protection against adverse changes in market conditions. “It was a tough vote (but) this is what compromise looks like” Rep. Mike Conaway (TX-R), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee told All Ag, All Day.

With the change in law, producers can now sign up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) for crop year 2018. More importantly however is the fact that by having cotton covered under Title I of the 2014 Farm Bill, lawmakers can now write the next five-year bill without asking for more resources from the Finance Committee. The move also allows the House Ag Committee to roll out the 2018 Farm Bill soon. “We’re ready to go sometime after the President’s Day parade (next week)” Conaway announced Friday, adding “I think we’ll be in shape to move the House version late this month or certainly by the end of March.”

Conaway has long said his goal would be to have a new farm bill in place prior to the expiration of the current bill – something Congress hasn’t done since 2002. “If we can both get them done (House and Senate), late March early April, then we’ll have close to six months to work those differences out and get it to the President’s desk and ready to go October 1st.” Sen. Pat Roberts is leading the charge in the upper chamber, and if successful will become the only elected official to author two different farm bills. His 1996 legislation, also known as “Freedom to Farm” was crafted while he chaired the House committee as a Representative from Kansas 1st Congressional District.

Listen to the interview here: http://www.allagnews.com/archives/17925