Blunt Rochester Applauds House Passage of Farm Bill Conference Report, Boosting Delaware Farmers, Businesses, & Consumers

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Washington, December 12, 2018 | Kyle Morse (202-695-0494) | comments

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), the first Delawarean to serve on the House Agriculture Committee in over 120 years, issued the following statement after House passage of the bipartisan Farm Bill conference report by a vote of 369 to 47. The Farm Bill is a 5-year re-authorization that extends U.S. Department of Agriculture programs related to the farm safety net; nutrition programs that feed Delaware children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families who rely on the social safety net to navigate difficult financial times; land-grant and 1890 universities; and agriculture research.

“I fought to get on the House Agriculture Committee because I knew how critical it would be to Delaware to craft a Farm Bill that would provide our agriculture industry and state with opportunities to boost our economy, strengthen the agricultural safety net, and protect seniors, children, and people with disabilities,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “The Farm Bill connects all of us to the food on our plates, the farmers who produce that food, and the natural resources and scientific research that make our nation the global leader in agriculture. This bill is an important first step in providing farmers with the surety they need to run their businesses while addressing the needs of struggling rural communities across the country. After months of negotiations in Washington and roundtable discussions across Delaware with state officials, farmers, business leaders, and social service providers, I proudly cast my vote for a Farm Bill that positively impacts all in our state. This legislation comes at a time when trust and confidence in Congress’ ability to deliver real results for the American public has been greatly eroded. Passage of the Farm Bill is an example of all we can accomplish when both sides of the aisle are given a seat at the table and are able to negotiate on behalf of their states and constituencies, and I am proud to have played a role in crafting this Farm Bill. I look forward to continuing my work with the agricultural community in Delaware and across the country to strengthen farming communities – ensuring they’re afforded the opportunities to continue growing the crops that help feed our families and the world.”

Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill:

  • Maintains support for agricultural conservation programs important to Delaware, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – programs that offer crucial tools to help farmers in Delaware and around the country protect water quality, preserve the land and enhance wildlife habitats
  • Includes improvements derived from the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act, a bill co-sponsored by Blunt Rochester, (H.R. 4420) that double funding for the RCPP programs and create additional opportunities for farmers on Delmarva, and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to benefit from the program 
  • Expands crop insurance to help cover crops that are not covered by insurance, while also improving access for veterans, beginning farmers and fruit and vegetable growers
  • Preserves critical food access for millions of families, including thousands of families in Delaware
  • Makes key improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that affirm existing regulations on SNAP work requirements, while avoiding harmful eligibility changes that would take away benefits and create unnecessary obstacles for states and working families
  • Creates new initiatives to make fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable
  • Fights the opioid crisis through expanded telemedicine and community facility investments to provide critical treatment options for those who suffer from opioid addiction
  • Contains zero controversial provisions that weaken critical environmental protections and, as a result, is supported by all major environmental and sportsmen groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and Trout Unlimited
  • Provides funding for farmers markets and organic research
  • Develops a new “Harvesting Health” produce prescription program to allow healthcare providers to help low-income patients build healthier diets and access more fruits and vegetables
  • Provides $40 million for 1890 Scholarship Programs, which can be utilized at Delaware State University

The text of the bill is available here.

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