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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Work Continues on the 2018 Farm Bill

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Committee Director

  September 11, 2018 --

Two years ago you were hearing a lot about the Federal 2014 Farm Bill which finally was passed in 2016. The Farm Bill is in effect for four years and even though it was passed in 2016 it was effective as of 2014. The Federal House of Representatives and Senate are now working on creating the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill seems to be moving along faster than the previous bill, but hopefully I did not just jinx it. At this point both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. The House has already voted to send their 2018 Farm Bill to a conference committee. The Senate still needs to vote on sending their bill to conference but it is expected that will happen soon.

Once the Senate votes on sending the Farm Bill to a conference committee then the House and Senate conference members will begin working on negotiating a final bill that is acceptable to both. The goal is to complete the Farm Bill by this September 30th. This is the date that many of the previous Farm Bill programs will expire. Even though this bill is titled “Farm Bill”, a major portion of funding in this bill is for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or SNAP program. Seventy percent of the Farm Bills funding is allocated to SNAP. The remainder of the funding is for crop insurance, commodity programs, conservation and other programs.

Parts of the House and Senate versions are very similar and close to the 2014 Farm Bill as far as commodity titles and crop insurance titles.

The greatest stumbling block of the 2018 Farm Bill will be added SNAP requirements proposed by the House. The House version requires those who are able to work to do either work or job training for a minimum of 20 hours a week. There are exemptions for recipients with dependent children. The Senate version does not include this requirement and many oppose adding it.



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