Two groups representing cattle producers in the U.S. voiced their desire to see the farm bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.
The farm bill passed through a joint conference of the Senate and House of Representatives on Dec. 10 to be voted on by both sides of the legislator. The Senate quickly voted on the bill with a tally of 87-13 approving the bill to move onto the House.
After the Farm Bill went through conference it had the backing of both the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).
“The release of the farm bill conference report is encouraging news for farmers and ranchers across the country. Now it is time for Congress to get the 2018 farm bill across the finish line. In these uncertain times, agricultural operations and rural communities depend on the certainty the farm bill provides,” says NCBA President Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation California rancher.
“We’d like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow; and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Colin Peterson and all of their staff. Delivering a farm bill, on-time and with needed resources for our farming and ranching families, is no small task,” says USCA President and North Dakota rancher Kenny Graner.
A primary area that gained the groups’ support is the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program and National Animal Vaccine Bank. This piece of the legislation secures $300 million in funding for programs like a foot and mouth vaccine (FMD) bank and requires a study for USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service more effectively conduct outreach with small meat packers.
“NCBA was pleased to see authorization of a new Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine (FMD) bank. The FMD bank will provide critical protection to rural economies, and we look forward to working with Secretary Perdue and Congress to address future funding needs,” Kester says.
Other areas of the farm bill that USCA voiced support included the following:
- The conference report adopts a provision that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish up to three regional centers to be known as “Cattle and Carcass Grading Correlation and Training Centers”. These centers will provide education and training for cattle and carcass beef graders of AMS, cattle producers, and other professionals involved in the reporting, delivery, and grading of feeder cattle, live cattle, and carcasses for the purpose of limiting the subjectivity in the application of beef grading standards.
- The text also makes a clarification to the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish program by adding that producers may recoup costs incurred from cattle fever tick inspections.
“The working relationships our team in Washington, D.C. hold with key decision-makers on Capitol Hill help ensure that the priorities we laid out for the 2018 farm bill were included in the final bill. We worked diligently with staff members from both the Senate and House Agriculture Committee around-the-clock in the final months leading up to today’s release. Now, we urge Congress to finish the work and get this bill across the finish line to deliver a farm bill before Christmas,” Graner says.
Kester also says the bill needs to be approved prior to Christmas.
“We ask Members of Congress to vote 'yes' and get the bill across the finish line before Christmas,” Kester says.
Now that the farm bill has been passed by the Senate it goes onto the House. If approved by the House it will move over to President Trump’s desk to be signed for final approval.
For more on the farm bill read the following stories: