By Juliet Linderman, Associated Press and Democrat staff
POSTED: 06/29/18, 7:55 AM PDT
WASHINGTON >> The Senate has passed a bill that makes modest modifications to existing farm programs while largely avoiding changes to food stamps, setting up a showdown with the House.
The bill passed 86-11.
The legislation renews farm programs such as crop insurance and land conservation. Farm programs are set to expire Sept. 30 unless Congress acts.
Work on the legislation comes at a time when farmers are facing low prices and a potential trade war that could depress commodities prices further.
“We are one step closer to providing farmers and ranchers a Farm Bill with the certainty and predictability they deserve,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan. “I am proud we have a strong, budget-neutral farm bill with broad support.”
GOP aides said the farm bill is expected to go to conference, where Senate and House leadership will try to reconcile their differences. On the food stamp front, the two sides are likely to clash.
The California Farm Bureau, however, includes a number of priorities it favors. The bill establishes federal policy on agricultural programs encompassing conservation, nutrition, commodities, trade, research, rural development and other topics.
“The farm bill represents a five-year agreement between farmers and the American people,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “We will encourage our representatives to meld the best elements of the House and Senate bills to create a modern farm bill that serves farmers, ranchers, rural Americans and everyone who depends on the nation’s agricultural production.”