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 President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. 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.
“Today’s bill signing is the realization of two years’ worth of travel across Delaware, hundreds of hearings in the House Agriculture Committee, and months of tough bipartisan, bicameral negotiations. This accomplishment was hard-fought and a meaningful step forward for Delaware farmers and families alike. I am pleased that the final Farm Bill truly reflects what brings us together, not what tears us apart,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Though a step forward, our work is not yet done. In the coming year, we must do more to stabilize the rural economy, support families in need of nutrition support, and prepare Americans of all ages and skill sets for future jobs in the workforce. In the next Congress, I will continue to press for legislation that offers assistance to farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and empowers workers to gain the necessary skills to propel them into the middle class and thrive in the new, digital economy.”
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 Farm Bill is available here.
In July, Blunt Rochester introduced H.R. 6483, the Trade Assistance for Farmers Act, which would expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program to include farmers, growers, and producers negatively impacted by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.
Full text of the Trade Assistance for Farmers Act can be found here, and a summary can be found here.