With President Donald Trump’s signature earlier today, the 2018 omnibus spending bill—and the several provisions that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities it includes—became law. The measure, which was a must-pass to avert a government shutdown, was approved in quick succession by the House and Senate on Thursday and the wee hours of Friday morning, respectively.
The bill provides several items of importance to agriculture producers and rural communities including:
- Changes to section 199A amends the cooperative tax deduction restoring balance to commodity markets and re-establishing fairness between cooperative and non-cooperative farmers
- ELD reporting exemption is extended until September 2018, the end of the fiscal year
- The Farm Act, included in the bill, clarifies language that explicitly outlines CERCLA reporting requirements for air emissions are not required for farms and ranches
- $625 million is allocated to expand rural broadband service and administered by USDA Rural Utilities Service
- $26 billion is allocated to USDA programs including; agricultural risk payments, fire suppression spending caps, FSA programs and FSA county office hiring
- $4.65 billion is allocated to fight the opioid epidemic through USDA Rural Development
While Farm Bureau supported the legislation, President Duvall noted his disappointment in the lack of language related to the Waters of the U.S. rule.
“We had hoped Congress would include language that would have authorized the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the secretary of the Army to withdraw the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. This would have granted express statutory authority to the agencies to withdraw a rule that courts have already found to be likely illegal and would allow the agencies to move forward on their efforts to develop a new WOTUS rule that comports with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter urging lawmakers to pass the bill.