RMFU: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is Signed into Law…
Written by Dale McCall, President of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union:
“Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is pleased with the overwhelming bipartisan Congressional action and the President’s signature to approve this food and farm bill. Now farmers and ranchers can plan for the 2019 growing season with more certainty. The items I’ve looked at that are most significant to farmers and ranchers in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico include:
- A modest increase in the number of acres that can be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, plus important drought resilience and soil health initiatives.
Legalization of hemp, allowing it to become a viable alternative crop for farmers nationwide.
- Forest and Watershed Health provisions that build partnerships, encourage efficient land management, and add much-needed protections.
- The continuation of crop insurance as an essential and flexible safety net for production agriculture, with key updates made to ARC and PLC, plus much-needed expansion of coverage for fruits, vegetables, hops, and barley.
- Expansion of high-speed internet in rural communities by providing new grants that will target areas most in need and connect communities with modern internet access.
- Establishes and supports key energy programs that expand biofuels and other renewables, rural energy projects, and carbon utilization.
- Fully funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which is vital to so many who are struggling with food access in both rural and urban areas.
- Addresses the opioid crisis by opening funding for expanded telemedicine and community facility investments to provide critical treatment options for those suffering from addiction.
- Reauthorizes the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to assist state and nonprofits that establish helplines, suicide prevention training, and support groups.
We remain concerned this legislation did not do enough to address consolidation in the ag industry, as farmers and ranchers are facing far fewer choices when it comes to selling livestock and buying seed and fertilizer. The ongoing trade war continues to create uncertainty for families who make a living from the land, but a five-year food and farm bill does help to relieve some of that concern we see and hear from our members across Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.”
-Dr. Dale McCall, RMFU President
Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union & become a member online @ www.rmfu.org