U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, released the following statement after the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 passed the Senate:
“After many discussions with Texas farmers and ranchers, I’m pleased to report this Farm Bill includes a number of their priorities, including strengthening crop insurance, maintaining seed cotton eligibility for the Farm Bill safety net, and promoting animal health by countering cattle tick fever and Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Sen. Cornyn. “However, the Farm Bill isn’t just for farmers anymore; this bill will impact our nation’s food supply and pricing, promote environmental conservation, authorize research partnerships at Texas universities, and help modernize American textile mills.”
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018:
- Protects seed cotton eligibility for the Farm Bill safety net, building on a provision Sen. Cornyn included in the Bipartisan Budget Act earlier this year.
- Retains and strengthens the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) programs to help provide Texas producers with stability through unpredictable weather and natural disasters.
- Strengthens crop insurance programs and other risk management tools for Texas farmers and ranchers.
- Promotes animal health and reauthorizes disease research programs with the creation of an animal vaccine bank, which Sen. Cornyn advocated for in a letter to Committee leadership earlier this year, and which will help address the spread of cattle fever tick. The conference report language is based on Sen. Cornyn’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act of 2018.
- Allows for the inspection of South Texas herds for cattle tick fever.
- Enhances the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to provide technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to help them conserve soil and water.
- Encourages USDA research partnerships, including those at Texas A&M University System and Texas Tech University System, to promote more productive and profitable farming.
- Maintains and funds foreign access programs, which help Texas farmers and ranchers place and sell their products in foreign markets.
- Directs continued research on the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) looking for ways to stop its spread and eliminate the disease.
- Makes wildfire damage to fencing eligible for reimbursement under the Emergency Conservation Program.
- Provides more stability for small and mid-size dairy farmers through improvements to the Dairy Coverage Program.
- Helps textile mills modernize to keep up with international competition.