06-28-18 United States Senate PASSES their Version of the 2018 Farm Bill…

United States Senate PASSES their Version of the 2018 Farm Bill…

Bennet Applauds Passage of Senate Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, today applauded Senate passage of the Farm Bill. 20 Bennet-led priorities were included in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“This bipartisan Farm Bill incorporates ideas and suggestions that we’ve heard across our state,” Bennet said. “The bill legalizes hemp, eliminating uncertainty for businesses in Colorado. The bill also maintains crop insurance, invests in forest health and conservation, secures food assistance for families in need, and expands opportunity for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. We should move this bill quickly to the President’s desk before the end of September—especially given the uncertainty communities face over drought, commodity prices, and trade.”

Check out the audio from the press conference following the vote of 86-11 passage of their version of the 2018 Farm Billon the US Senate with US Senator Michael Bennet

062818_USSenBennet-PostFarmBillVotePresser_11m27s

Audio provided courtesy of BARN Media, CO Ag News Network & FarmCast Radio

Progress for Colorado in the 2018 Farm Bill

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, secured a number of bills and amendments important to Colorado in the bipartisan Farm Bill. The following 20 Bennet-led priorities were included in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042).

Protecting Our Forests

Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program: extends support and doubles funding for collaborative, community-based forest management, which has a proven record of success.

Flexible Partnerships Act: provides rural communities an avenue to engage with the U.S. Forest Service to address housing, infrastructure, and other needs.

Small Tracts Act: expands the Forest Service’s authority to sell small parcels to protect other high-priority lands and improve land management.

National Forest Foundation: reauthorizes the National Forest Foundation (NFF) through 2023. The NFF supports Colorado conservation and stewardship projects and is a key partner in maintaining our National Forests.

Wildfire Protection: creates a pilot program to protect utility infrastructure from passing wildfires by encouraging vegetation management on Forest Service land.

Watershed and Forest Health: includes a new Water Source Protection Program to support innovative forest health partnerships; directs the Forest Service to evaluate the condition of our watersheds, prioritize forest restoration efforts, and monitor their effectiveness.

Promoting Conservation

Soil Health: emphasizes soil health across the conservation title and establishes an EQIP pilot program to improve soil health, ensuring the pilot program will occur in at least one drought prone region.

Healthy Habitat and Rangelands: improves access to conservation planning and rewards grazing practices that promote drought resilience, wildfire management, and wildlife habitat.

Outdoor Recreation: reauthorizes and maintains funding for programs that provide access to hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation and improves wildlife habitat on private lands.

Drought Resilience: eliminates duplicative planning requirements and provides greater flexibility for off-farm water infrastructure projects that improve drought resilience.

Conservation for Small-Scale Farmers: allows the USDA to create a pilot program to improve the delivery of conservation funding to small-scale producers.

Supporting Rural Economies

Hemp Agriculture: legalizes hemp as an agriculture commodity, providing certainty and economic opportunity for growers, including the ability to access crop insurance and federal funding.

Rural Broadband: provides loans, loan guarantees, and grants to improve broadband service in high-need rural areas.

Farmer and Rancher Stress: reauthorizes the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to assist states and nonprofits that establish helplines, suicide prevention training, and support groups.

Data for Disaster Programs: improves the data used for drought monitoring, which determines USDA disaster assistance across the West; requires the USDA to consult with the bison industry to use the best available market value data for the Livestock Indemnity Program.

Food Waste: Requires a study to identify the cost and volume of domestic and imported fresh food waste and opportunities to reduce waste and improve farm income.

Improving Energy Options

Energy Storage: makes energy storage technologies eligible for USDA Rural Energy for
American Program funding and financing.

Clean Energy: promotes biogas and carbon utilization technologies in rural communities.

Cyber and Grid Security: ensures cybersecurity and grid improvement projects are eligible for USDA Rural Utility Service loans.

A copy of the 2018 Senate Farm Bill is available at www.agriculture.senate.gov/2018-farm-bill.

US Senator Michael Bennet, who sits on several committees within the US Senate including:

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

  • Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Member, Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade
  • Member, Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, and Agricultural Research
  • Member, Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy

Senate Committee on Finance

  • Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
  • Member, Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

  • Member, Subcommittee on Children and Families
  • Member, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security