April 20, 2018 - On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee introduced their initial version of the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization titled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. The House Agriculture Committee plans to begin marking up the bill next week.
The bill was introduced in the middle of the 2018 National Water Policy Fly-in where over 250 industry leaders met with Members of Congress to discuss their needs, one of which is support for the Farm Bill’s conservation measures - specifically, increased funding for USDA’s rural water/wastewater loan and grant program to $650 million for grants and $2 billion for loans.
The bill introduced on Wednesday:
- Emphasizes protection of water sources throughout the conservation title.
- Expands opportunities for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with water systems to prioritize activities in each state.
- Increases benefits for farmers who employ practices that benefit downstream water quality.
- Ensures at least 10 percent of conservation program funds is focused on the protection of drinking water.
Earlier on Wednesday, Senate Agriculture Committee staff member Ashley McKeon spoke at the Fly-in Congressional Breakfast about the need for a farm bill reauthorization by the end of the fiscal year. The Senate continues to work on their version of the bill.