Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) today released the following statement after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, sending it to the President to be signed into law. The Senate approved the measure yesterday by a vote of 87 to 13 and the House approved the bill today.
Hoeven outlined the importance of good farm policy for the nation’s farmers and ranchers, as well as important provisions he secured for North Dakota producers, including:
· Increased Access to Capital: The bill includes a version of Hoeven’s Capital for Farmers and Ranchers Act to provide producers, including beginning farmers, with greater access to the capital necessary to start or grow their operations. The bill increases Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Guaranteed Operation and Ownership Loans from $1.399 million to $1.75 million, Direct Operating Loans from $300,000 to $400,000 and Direct Ownership Loans from $300,000 to $600,000.
- Improvements to ARC and PLC: Hoeven worked to build on strengths in the commodity title from both the Senate and House bills.
- The conference agreement includes Hoeven’s proposal to reduce ARC disparities from county to county. It also includes an increase to the plug yield in ARC and uses trend adjusted yields under ARC.
- The bill updates the PLC program to allow reference prices to increase if commodity prices rise significantly over the years and permits nationwide yield updates. Additionally, farmers will be allowed to make a new election between ARC and PLC in 2019, again in 2021 and annually in the following years.
“This is the first time since 1990 that Congress has passed the farm bill before the end of the calendar year. We did it with broad, bipartisan support and by building on the strengths of both the Senate and House versions,” said Hoeven. “We look forward to the President signing the bill into law. This long-term farm bill is important, not just for our farmers and ranchers, but for every American. That is because all of us benefit from the highest quality, lowest cost food supply every day.”