House passes 2018 Farm Bill

By Erin Voegele | December 12, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 369 to 47 on Dec. 12. The legislation will now be sent to President Trump’s desk. Trump is expected to sign the bill later this week.

Passage of the bill comes after months of delays. The House Agriculture Committee first released a draft of the legislation in April. The House passed its version of the bill on June 21, while the Senate passed its version of the legislation a week later, on June 28.

House and Senate ag committee leaders released the text of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report more than five months later, on Dec. 10. The Senate moved quickly and approved the conference report by a vote of 87 to 13 the following day, on Dec. 11. The House followed with its vote on Dec. 12. The bill will now be considered by Trump. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he will encourage Trump to sign the bill.

“The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords,” said Perdue in statement released following the House vote. “This Farm Bill will help producers make decisions about the future, while also investing in important agricultural research and supporting trade programs to bolster exports. While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities. I commend Congress for bringing the Farm Bill across the finish line and am encouraging President Trump to sign it.”

A copy of the conference report released on Dec. 10 indicates the bill includes reauthorizes and provides funding for several Energy Title programs, including the Biobased Markets Program, the Biorefinery Assistance Program, the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, the Rural Energy for America Program, the Feedstock Flexibility Program, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. The Repowering Assistance Program is repealed.

The bill also establishes an Interagency Biogas Opportunities Task Force to coordinate policies and programs to accelerate biogas research and investment in biogas systems, and a new Carbon Utilization and Biogas Education Program to provide grants to eligible entities for educating the public and biogas producers about the benefits and opportunities biogas offers to rural businesses, communities and utilities.

In addition, the bill changes the name of the Community Wood Energy Program to the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program and relocates the program under the bill’s Forestry title.

Additional information, including a full copy of the conference report, is available on the House Committee on Agriculture’s website