WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) lauded the major wins for Delaware farmers that the delegation was able to secure in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 – more commonly known as the Farm Bill. These key provisions will help provide much-needed certainty to Delaware farmers while also maintaining important environmental protections that keep our air, water and land clean and safe. The final text of bill, which was released last night, is scheduled to be voted on in both the House and Senate this week. A link to the final text of the bill is available here.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 includes an amendment originally introduced by Senators Carper and Coons and championed by the Delaware Congressional Delegation that allows farmers in the beginning stages of farming to apply for conservation funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP helps agricultural producers improve operations on their farms – all while protecting the land, as well as air and water quality. Previously, Delaware poultry farmers in the beginning stages of farming were prevented from applying for conservation funds. In September, the Delaware Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Farm Bill negotiators to secure this win-win provision for Delaware farmers.
“Our farmers in Delaware and across the country are dealing with unique challenges as they work to feed consumers at home and abroad. Low commodity prices coupled with significant uncertainty surrounding this administration’s trade policies have made it increasingly difficult for our farmers to make long-term planning decisions. My partners Senator Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester and I fought to ensure that this year’s farm bill will help farmers combat these headwinds and allow them to better plan for the future, giving them some of the certainty they need to keep producing for this country and driving our economy,” said Senator Carper. “This bill also proves that we don’t have to pick between a strong economy and a healthy environment. Too often, sweeping legislation like the Farm Bill is used to push through harmful provisions that rollback protections for the land we all share, the water we drink and the air we breathe. That is not the case with this legislation, and that is a win-win for our state and the country. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Coons, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to produce a comprehensive Farm Bill that shows just how fruitful legislation can be when we work together.”
“I applaud the Farm Bill conferees for negotiating a strong bill that will provide needed certainty to Delaware's farmers, who have faced a challenging year from unpredictable weather, low commodity prices, and trade tensions. This bill sustains our farm safety net, makes critical investments in agricultural conservation and research, supports rural communities, and avoids harmful changes to SNAP,” said Senator Coons. “I was also pleased to work with Senator Carper and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester to ensure that our provision to expand beginning poultry farmers' access to conservation funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was included in the final Farm Bill, and I look forward to supporting its passage in the Senate.”
“My goal in obtaining a seat on the House Agriculture Committee was to help craft a farm bill that met the specific needs of Delaware’s farmers, producers, and consumers. Through my work on the committee and in roundtable discussions across the state, I was able to hear Delawareans’ concerns and hopes for the Farm Bill, and by partnering with Senator Carper and Senator Coons, we were able to turn those concerns into tangible results for everyone in the state – from farm to fork,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Through months of tense negotiations, we were able to secure funding for critical conservation funds like the EQIP program, expand the crop insurance program to backstop farmers in difficult years, and protect vulnerable families through nutrition programs like SNAP. I am proud that Congress came together in a bipartisan, bicameral way to uphold the very purpose of the Farm Bill. We can finally vote for a Farm Bill that protects Delaware’s over 30,000 agricultural and forestry jobs and maintains our state and universities’ status as leaders in agriculture research and technology for years to come.”
Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill: