The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, strengthens the diversity of American agriculture, supporting the 16 million jobs at the root of our farm and food economy. The impact of the Farm Bill reaches both on and off the farm by growing opportunities for our farmers, protecting our land and water, strengthening small towns and rural communities and supporting the programs that help families working hard to make ends meet.
On December 21, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 2, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, into law. The legislation reauthorizes the nation’s food and agriculture policy and is the largest piece of legislation that impacts Americans facing hunger. The 2018 Farm Bill also addresses the structure and funding for critically important federal nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), along with programs that we have here at Feed More like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).
The 2018 Farm Bill major areas of support that help protect food access for families include:
- Protecting access to food assistance for families in need by avoiding harmful benefit cuts and eligibility changes that would would reduce access to food and create obstacles for working families.
- Increasing job training opportunities to help SNAP participants find and keep good-paying jobs the right way.
- Expanding access to healthy foods by securing $510 million in permanent funding – more than doubling investments for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives that encourage SNAP participants to purchase fruits and vegetables. The bill also creates new produce prescription initiatives that make fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable for families.
- Establishing a “Farm to Food Bank” initiative to provide healthy, local foods to families in need while reducing food waste.
- Reducing burdensome paperwork for seniors to help them access food assistance.
- Strengthening oversight of state administration of SNAP to address integrity and technology issues and prevent participants from receiving benefits in multiple states, while safeguarding privacy.
The 2018 Farm Bill will also:
- Strengthen the diversity of American agriculture by supporting new and beginning farmers, organic and specialty crop growers, urban farmers and safeguarding livestock and poultry growers against disease outbreaks.
- Provide new tools to conserve and restore our land, water, and forests by maintaining working lands programs and investing in regional conservation partnerships, improving soil health and water quality, promoting clean energy and protecting against wildfires.
- Provide investment in the future of small towns and rural communities by expanding high-speed internet in rural communities, fighting the opioid crisis, improving rural drinking water, investing in bio based manufacturing, reestablishing the Under Secretary of Rural Development, developing Promise Zone Partnerships for tribal communities and growing small business.
We are grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support of the House of Representatives and the Senate for passing this important bill, and look forward to continuing our work to help our neighbors in their times of need.
For the full overview of the 2018 Farm Bill and to learn more about the impact of this important legislation, please visit https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/newsroom/dem/press/release/stabenow-2018-farm-bill-will-grow-our-diverse-agricultural-economy.