Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after the House Agriculture Committee voted to advance the Farm Bill, setting the legislation up for a vote on the House floor:

“The Farm Bill is a necessary safety net, not only for our farmers and ranchers, but for our food supply,” said Noem. “With strong crop insurance and livestock disaster programs along with food stamp reforms, this legislation builds on the success of the historic tax cuts offered to farmers, ranchers, and consumers. I am proud of the months-long effort that has produced this legislation, and I look forward to helping usher this bill through the House in the weeks to come.”

Noem served on the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee, which acted as the bill’s final negotiating team. With fewer and fewer members representing rural districts, the legislation initially failed on the House floor. Noem, however, led efforts to resurrect the bill, taking on her own party to push the bill over the finish line.

The legislation:

  • Incorporates Noem’s reforms to strengthen commodity programs. During the 2014 Farm Bill implementation, USDA elected to prioritize county yield data from its National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which has proven unreliable in many cases. Today’s House proposal, using Noem’s language, would direct USDA to prioritize crop insurance data instead, which is a more dependable source.
  • Maintains a strong crop insurance program.
  • Increases CRP acreage to 29 million acres, while capping rental rates according to Noem proposal. Additionally, enrollment rates will be based on a state’s historical data, which Noem has previously pressured USDA to do.
  • Updates the wetland determination process so the USDA must prove the producer doesn’t qualify for an exemption before being ruled outside of conservation compliance, according to language Noem worked on.
  • Maintains meaningful Livestock Disaster Programs, which Noem fought to prioritize during the 2014 Farm Bill debate.
  • Maintains and strengthens dairy policy. The first 5 million pounds of milk production on a dairy farm is eligible for higher coverage levels at lower premiums.
  • Maintains the Beginning Farmer incentive program.
  • Enhances incentives for rural broadband development.
  • Simplifies the environmental review process requirements for forestry management, which Noem has strongly advocated for – particularly as it relates to fighting the pine beetle and other insect infestations in the Black Hills.
  • Establishes work and training requirements for SNAP benefits. Building on the economic successes of tax reform, the legislation would require that able-bodied, non-elderly individuals without young children work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week. No individual would lose benefits unless they decline to work or accept free training to learn a skill.

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