As the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the 2018 Farm Bill on Tuesday, and the House followed suit a day later, a great cheer rose from farms and ranches across America.
Maybe they couldn’t hear it inside the halls of Congress, but here in farm country, the sound was deafening.
It was the early Christmas gift farmers had hoped for and lawmakers delivered just in time.
“American rural economies are struggling in the face of successive years of declining prices, high and rising foreign tariffs and subsidies, and the unpredictability of Mother Nature,” the American Farm Bureau and 488 other farm organizations told Congress in a letter.
“This farm bill helps address these and countless other issues to ensure farmers, ranchers, and rural America can survive these difficult times."
In Minnesota, corn growers thanked the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
“The full protection of crop insurance, funding of market development programs, and the strengthening of the farm bill’s safety net are welcomed by Minnesota corn farmers,” the Minnesota Corn Growers Association said.
“With the severe economic stress on farm families today, growers would have liked to have seen even greater investment in the farm safety net, but this bill makes some meaningful improvements and provides growers with much needed certainty.
"We are grateful for Congressional approval and President Trump’s promise to sign the bill.”
In Texas, the chairman of the National Cotton Council thanked leadership for getting the bill passed.
“The NCC greatly appreciates the hard work and dedication of Chairmen Conaway (R-TX) and Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Members Peterson (D-MN) and Stabenow (D-MI) and their staff to develop a final farm bill that recognizes the unique policy needs for all crops and regions across the country,” said NCC Chairman Ron Craft.
“Our industry is especially thankful to Chairman Conaway and his team for their leadership in advancing and protecting cotton’s priorities in the legislation.
"In addition to these House and Senate agriculture committee leaders, Cotton Belt Members of Congress helped develop and move the farm bill through the House and Senate, and our industry is extremely grateful for their ongoing support of the cotton industry.”
In Arkansas, the leader of the USA Rice Federation joined the chorus of cheers.
“USA Rice applauds the work and perseverance of the farm bill Conference Committee, especially the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders and their staff, for passing a farm bill that is good for the U.S. rice industry,” said chairman Joe Mencer.
“The farm bill provides a sense of confidence for rice farmers and the industry during a time of depressed prices and an uncertain trade and market outlook going into next season.”
In Oklahoma, wheat farmers thanked Congress for providing much-needed certainty heading into 2019.
“Historically low prices, trade instability, and the current weather challenges are all weighing heavily on the minds of growers,” said Jimmie Musick, president of the National Wheat Growers Association from his farm in Sentinel, Okla.
“The 2018 Farm Bill provides the certainty they need to get through these arduous times and many of the programs within the bill can help growers stay in business.”
Sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers also thanked lawmakers for passing a farm bill with a strong no-cost sugar policy included.
“Low prices, extreme weather, foreign subsidies and unfair trade practices abroad have made the past several years challenging for U.S. agriculture, including America’s sugar farmers and the 142,000 U.S. workers they support,” the American Sugar Alliance said in a statement.
“This farm bill will help producers recover during these challenging times and should be a boost for rural communities from coast to coast.”
At the John Deer Company, workers also rejoiced.
“This is a win-win for the 1.3 million men and women of our industry and the broader U.S. economy,” said John Lagemann, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Deere & Company and Association of Equipment Manufacturers chair.
“Farm policies have a major impact on the health of the agriculture economy, which is a key driver of equipment manufacturing employment.
"We applaud Congress on its bipartisan effort to pass this much-needed legislation and look forward to President Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law.”
Out west, the Southwest Council of Agribusiness noted the decisive victory for farmers and ranchers.
“The House approved the farm bill by an historic vote of 369-47 — the largest margin of victory on record,” they said.
“We are going to enjoy the victory with fellow farm bill crusaders. We expect President Trump will sign the bill next week.”
And once President Trump makes the 2018 Farm Bill the law of the land, our farmers and ranchers can rest easy this Christmas knowing Congress, the Administration and the American public are backing them to produce affordable, safe and high-quality food and fiber for all.