Published since 1946
Senate and House Pass Farm Bill, Conference Expected to Occur this Summer
The U.S. Senate took one large step closer to delivering a new Farm Bill when it passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 on a strong bipartisan 86-11 vote on June 28. The bipartisan 5-year legislation encompasses a broad array of agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed their version of the Farm Bill on June 21, 2018 on a largely party line vote of 213-211. Twenty Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill. The House had failed in an earlier effort to pass their bill and made modest changes in order for the bill to pass the chamber.
The next step will be meetings to negotiate a compromise bill in a conference committee. Clashes in conference negotiations are likely to be over conservation programs, environmental protections in national forests and low-income nutrition assistance. The current Farm Bill, enacted in 2014, expires at the end of September. If Congress can’t reach an agreement, a one-year extension is possible.