On a conference call today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the House-Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee will soon reach a final agreement on the 2018 Farm Bill. As a member of the Conference Committee, Brown has been fighting to secure several key priorities for Ohioans. The final report is expected to pass, then head to the President's desk for final signature.
"At the beginning of the year, I pledged to get the Farm Bill done, so that we could provide Ohio farmers with the certainty they deserve," said Brown. "And I'm proud that this final bipartisan bill will do that. We secured important wins for Ohio dairy farmers, as well as soybean and corn farmers. This final bill will protect funding for critical nutrition programs that feed Ohio families, while also investing in programs to improve water quality in Lake Erie and across the state. Congress should move swiftly so that we can get this bill over the finish line."
Brown has been fighting to secure the following priorities in the final 2018 Farm Bill:
Brown's Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act
Brown's Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act provide permanent funding to help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies.
Protection for Lake Erie and Improving Water Quality
Provisions from Brown's water quality improvement bill, the Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act:
This legislation will improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio by refocusing federal investments to improve water quality and soil health. These efforts will improve federal conservation programs and better support Ohio farmers by reforming the three largest conservation funding programs to protect waterways while expanding access to quality farmland.
Create a new Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) program to better promote water quality. This prioritizes enrolling lands in the Conservation Reserve Program that will best prevent runoff and protect water quality.
Brown's amendment to ensure that conservation funding targets the best, highest quality projects that reduce runoff and improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio.
A Strengthened the Dairy Program
Provisions that would make improvements to dairy programs in order to better target support for small- and medium-sized producers:
The Farm Bill replaces the Margin Protection Program (MPP) with the Dairy Risk Coverage program, which invests an additional $100 million to improve affordability, flexibility, and effectiveness for Ohio dairy farmers.
Feeding Ohio Families
Provisions that protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for hungry families in Ohio:
Brown pushed to help protect families in need by helping avoid harmful eligibility changes that would force working families to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.
In August, Brown was appointed to serve as a conferee on the committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 50 years.