Arrington on House Passage of Farm Bill Conference Report

WASHINGTON – Today the House passed the Farm Bill conference report. Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19), member of the Farm Bill conference committee, released the following statement after its passage.

“After two years of hearings and meetings, as well as months of negotiations on the conference committee, I am excited to be sending a great Farm Bill to the President’s desk,” Arrington said.

“As the representatives of one of the largest agriculture production regions in the United States, no legislation is more important to West Texas than the Farm Bill. 

“I am pleased that much of the House bill is reflected in our final legislation, including provisions to strengthen the agriculture safety net, make important investments in rural infrastructure, and improve the oversight and integrity of the Food Stamp program.

“Additionally, the final bill includes two amendments I introduced to strengthen access to healthcare for rural communities and allow universities like Texas Tech to compete for more agriculture-related research funding.

“Agriculture plays a critical role in America’s prosperity and national security. Farm Bills provide the certainty that our producers desperately need in the face of tremendous weather volatility, trade inequities, and global market swings. They also provide support for critical infrastructure in rural communities that support our family farmers and ranchers.

“Agriculture and traditional American values go hand-in-hand. Farmers and ranchers represent more than food and fiber – they symbolize a culture of faith, hard work, and independence, which has always been at the heart of American’s greatness.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said, House Republicans refused to stop fighting for rural America and we’ve reached a deal that sets us on a better path – for producers, for rural communities, and for American consumers. Jodey has been a strong advocate and critical voice for production agriculture in this Farm Bill conference process, and I’m thankful for his leadership, which helped get this across the finish line.”

“Texas Farm Bureau strongly supports the 2018 Farm Bill and appreciates Congressman Arrington for his leadership and work on this legislation. Congressman Arrington has listened to the constituents of the 19th Congressional District about the issues facing agriculture,” Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening said. “Food security is national security, and it depends on strong agricultural policy that provides certainty and stability for farmers and ranchers. His support of the Farm Bill demonstrates his dedication to the farm and ranch families in Texas and the U.S.”

“The members of the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers would like to thank Rep. Arrington for his work on the 2018 Farm Bill that passed the House of Representatives today. Cotton has been and continues to be a priority for Jodey, as evidenced by his work earlier this year to help ensure that our crop made it back into the safety net before the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations had even begun,” Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Chairman Richard Gaona said. “We would also like to thank Chairman Mike Conaway and his staff for their dedication to getting a Farm Bill in place before the end of this year. Our producers need certainty as this crop year comes to a close.

BACKGROUND:

The rural healthcare amendment modifies USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program and the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program’s eligibility requirements to allow rural hospitals to refinance their existing debt.

There are over 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. and roughly half of them are in rural areas – serving one out of every five Americans. Without access to basic medical services, communities in America’s breadbasket and energy basin would not survive.

The non-land grant college amendment eliminates the current limitation that if an institution has more than one designation, it must choose which source of funds to draw from.

Whether an institution be a McIntire-Stennis forestry university, non-land grant university, or Hispanic-serving agricultural college, it should qualify for all competitive grants and not be precluded for multiples designations.