President Trump signs the farm bill, IFB president attends signing

Bipartisan bill a "tremendous victory for the American farmer."

President Donald Trump Thursday signed the overwhelmingly bipartisan 2018 farm bill, flanked by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, members of Congress, and agricultural organization and industry members, including IFB President Richard Guebert Jr.

By Deana Stroisch

Calling it a “tremendous victory for the American farmer,” President Donald Trump Thursday signed the 2018 farm bill.

Trump put his final stamp on the bipartisan legislation while flanked by lawmakers and Farm Bureau leaders, including Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr.

“With the passage of the farm bill, we are delivering to the farmers and ranchers — who are the heart and the soul of America — all sorts of things that they never even thought possible,” Trump said. “We are ensuring that American agriculture will always feed our families, nourish our communities, power our commerce and inspire our nation.”

Guebert, who called it an honor to be in attendance for the historic event, thanked Trump and the Illinois congressional delegation for their support.

“The 2018 farm bill is a complete package that serves all Americans,” he said. “The farm bill helps to ensure the food security and economic security of our nation. Directly or indirectly, it benefits everyone in towns large and small.”

Getting a new, five-year farm bill passed has been a top priority for IFB for years. Work began in 2016 to get input from members.

The final legislation includes many of IFB’s priorities, including protecting crop insurance and improving farm programs. It was also supported by all of Illinois’ 18 representatives and two senators.

Guebert thanked Farm Bureau members and staff for their hard work getting the farm bill passed.

“This has been a great effort by everyone involved,” he said.

The farm bill, estimated to cost $867 million over 10 years will, among other things:

 - Give farmers the choice between revenue-based and price-based commodity programs.

 - Allow for a nationwide yield update for Price Loss Coverage (PLC) beginning with the 2020 crop year.

 - Change Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) to allow increased yield plugs and yield trend adjustments.

 - Include conservation programs that protect natural resources, provide incentives and rebalance rental rates.

 - Improve the safety net for dairy producers.

 - Strengthen market development programs.

The legislation doesn’t include work training requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients called for in the House version of the bill.

But on the same day the farm bill was signed, USDA released a proposed rule intended to “to close work requirement loopholes in the food stamp program,” Trump said.

“Under this new rule, able-bodied adults without dependents will have to work or look for work in order to get food stamps,” Trump said. “Today’s action will help Americans transition from welfare to gainful employment.”

The rule, if finalized, would not apply to the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women or people aged 50 or older.