Bennet Applauds Bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill

Legislation would mean vital investments and certainty for U.S. providers

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today applauded the 2018 Farm Bill ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled bill markup.

“This bill is a reminder of what bipartisanship can achieve,” said Bennet. “The Farm Bill makes critical investments in Colorado agriculture, conserves land and water, and provides new opportunities for rural economic growth. The bill benefited from ideas gathered from across our state, and I want to thank Coloradans who took the time to share their views. We will look to Colorado’s farmers and ranchers to improve the bill further and move quickly to provide them with much-needed certainty.”

The 2018 Farm Bill is the product of significant bipartisan collaboration between Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and committee members.

Several Bennet-led or -supported provisions were included in the draft text of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill:

Protecting our Forests

  • Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program: extends support for collaborative, community-based forest management, which has a proven record of success.
  • Flexible Partnerships Act: provides communities an avenue to engage with the U.S. Forest Service to address housing, infrastructure, and other needs.
  • Small Tracts Act: authorizes the Forest Service to sell small parcels to protect other high-priority lands.
  • National Forest Foundation: reauthorizes the National Forest Foundation (NFF) through 2023. The NFF is a key partner in maintaining our National Forests.

Promoting Soil Health and Wildlife Habitat:

  • Healthy Habitat and Rangelands: improves access to USDA conservation tools and rewards grazing practices that promote drought resilience, wildfire management, and wildlife habitat.
  • Soil Health:  emphasizes soil health across the various titles and establishes a pilot program to encourage practices that improve soil health.
  • Outdoor Recreation: expands opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation by extending support for state public access programs.

Supporting Rural Economies:

  • Hemp Agriculture: legalizes hemp as an agriculture commodity, providing new certainty and economic opportunities for growers; extends hemp growers’ access to crop insurance.
  • Energy Storage: makes energy storage technologies eligible for USDA Rural Energy for American Program funding and financing.
  • Rural broadband: targets federal grants for broadband projects in high-need 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.

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry committee plans to markup the Farm Bill reauthorization at 9:30 a.m. ET on June 13th.  Click here to watch live.