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House Passes Farm Bill, Sending It To Trump's Desk

Rodney Davis speaks
Jeff Roberson
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis served on the conference committee for both the 2014 and 2018 farm bills.

The House on Wednesday easily passed the farm bill, a massive legislative package that reauthorizes agriculture programs and food aid.

The legislation has already passed the Senate and is now headed to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The House vote was 369-47. U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis from Taylorville and Darin LaHood from Peoria, both Republicans who represent Bloomington-Normal, supported the bill.

The measure is the result of months of negotiations by lawmakers. It does not make any significant changes to the food stamp program that serves nearly 40 million low-income Americans. Trump and conservatives had pushed to create new work requirements for food stamps, but the Senate rejected the idea.

The bill reauthorizes agriculture and conservation programs, funds trade programs, expands support for struggling dairy farmers and legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp.

“Getting a farm bill across the finish line this year for our farmers has always been my goal and I’m glad we are going to deliver,” Davis said in a statement. “This bill maintains programs critical for Central Illinois farmers, strengthens agricultural research, and improves protections for organic products."

Davis was critical of how much of the bill was focused on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

"We’ve written a strong bill for our farmers, but 80 percent of this bill is SNAP," he said. "While there is a slight increase in employment and training, not every able-bodied adult will have access to this job training program like they would have under the House bill. This is a missed opportunity, and if our economy is going to continue grow, we’re going to need to fill the jobs that are open. I hope Democrats in the House will set the election aside and make this a priority next year.”

LaHood called the bill a "win for our farmers."

"Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Illinois and the farm bill passed today will provide certainty to our farmers and strengthen the farm economy by protecting crop insurance, continuing responsible farm programs, preserving conservation, and safeguarding our farmers against illegal trade practices by foreign countries,” LaHood said. “I appreciate members on both sides of the aisle coming together to provide positive assurances to American farmers before the new year and look forward to seeing President Trump sign the farm bill into law.”

The Illinois Farm Bureau praised passage of the bill.

“This bill strengthens the safety net for producers by protecting crop insurance and by giving a farmer the ability to choose annually between revenue and price-based commodity programs," Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said in a statement. "It strengthens market development programs and creates a national food and mouth disease vaccine bank.

Guebert said the bill's conservation programs protect natural resources, provide incentives, and rebalance rental rates.

"Finally, this farm bill maintains a strong safety net for the millions of American's who receive supplemental nutrition benefits," Guebert added.

Learn more about the farm bill from NPR's coverage.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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