MFU applauds passage of H.R. 2; calls for action on trade, health care, consolidation
Dec. 13, 2018
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, or the Farm Bill conference report, by a 369-47 margin. This came a day after the U.S. Senate passed the same report 87-13. The bill will go to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), a grassroots family farm organization, is pleased that Congress has taken this step providing more certainty for family farmers. The bill contains an improved dairy program and keeps crop insurance well intact, providing farmers more flexibility to choose between programs. It also keeps funding for conservation, beginning farmers and local foods.
As members passed a special order at November’s 77th Annual MFU Convention calling on Congress to pass the Farm Bill during the lame-duck session, this is incredibly important to MFU.
“This bipartisan Farm Bill achieved many Farmers Union priorities,” MFU President Gary Wertish said. “We thank Rep. Collin Peterson for his leadership on the Farm Bill as well as Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Reps. Erik Paulsen, Rick Nolan, Betty McCollum and Tom Emmer for their support of the bill. We also recognize Rep. Tim Walz for his work on beginning farmer and soil initiatives. Though we are disappointed that some issues were not addressed, such as meaningful payment limitations, it meets many of the needs our members expressed.
“However, much more needs to be done to get the farm economy going back in the right direction, as farm income is projected to decline again this year. Congress must address the severe economic impact tariffs, bad trade deals, high health care costs and agribusiness consolidation have had on family farmers. We cannot have a sustainable family agriculture system without all farmers receiving a fair price for their labor. The new Farm Bill is a step in the right direction, but we must not stop there.”
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org).