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President Trump signs Farm Bill

President Donald Trump speaking in 2017 just outside Harrisburg. Staff Sgt. Tony Harp/U.S. Air National Guard

President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into law. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which sets agriculture policy for the next five years.

“We have been working every day to deliver for America’s farmers just as they work every single day to deliver for us,” President Trump said.

“This important piece of legislation provides the certainty Alabama farmers need to produce the food and fiber our country depends on” Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and the American Farm Bureau both supported passage of the bill.

“While no farm bill is perfect, this legislation addresses many concerns expressed by our members,” Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said in a statement. “It gives farmers greater flexibility in choosing programs to fit their individual businesses and allows prices and yields to be adjusted based on global markets and production history. We appreciate Congress and the Trump administration getting a farm bill approved so farmers can have certainty going into next year.”

“This 2018 farm bill is a complete package — one that will serve all Americans,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “Farm and ranch families in particular will find a good degree of risk management support they need to help them weather the prolonged downturn in the agricultural economy that many of us are facing. Next year, we are going to face continued challenges across farm and ranch country, and this new farm bill gives us the tools we will need to weather this ongoing storm.”

The conference committee version of the bill that was signed into law on Thursday passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. The bill passed after the conference committee removed a Republican House measure that would have imposed strict work requirements on people who receive supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits, still commonly called “food stamps.” Pres. Trump said at the bill signing ceremony that he would impose the work requirements administratively.

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“I have instructed my administration to take immediate action on welfare reform,” Trump said. “Millions of able-bodied, working-age adults continue to collect food stamps without working or even looking for work. This action … was a difficult thing to get done. But farmers wanted it done, we all wanted it done, and I think in the end it’s going to make a lot of people very happy.”

The White House said that the Farm Bill provides critical funding for the United States Department of Agriculture and provides support, certainty, and stability to our Nation’s farmers. The bill will: Extend farm support programs and improve crop insurance; Maintain vital disaster programs to ensure our farmers and agricultural producers are well-prepared to weather market disruptions; Promote agricultural exports and opening of new markets for America’s farmers; Expand rural broadband development and dedicate resources to fight the opioid crisis; Promote voluntary conservation, outdoor recreation, and better water infrastructure; and Encourage forest management partnerships with States and localities.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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