Midwestern Senators Unite Behind 2018 Farm Bill

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The Senate has passed its version of the 2018 Farm bill with an 86 to 11 vote. 

But the Senate bill is different from the House bill, and farmers are still waiting to see what the final bill will look like. 

Midwestern Senators from both parties say the 2018 Farm bill is critical to their states. 

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown: “It matters for jobs in our state, it matters for clean up of Lake Erie,” Brown said. 

The bill aims to give farmers much-needed certainty. 
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the Senate bill makes sure farmers have a strong safety net. 

“That there is a robust crop insurance program. I think that is imperative,” Ernst said. 

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is concerned about dairy farmers struggling with low milk prices and the potential for retaliatory tariffs. 

“Its kind of a perfect storm,” Baldwin said. 

That’s why she pushed for changes to the margin protection program — an insurance program for dairy farmers, that she says wasn’t working. 

“We are going to see a risk management tool that is much much more effective to help our dairy farmers,” Baldwin said. 

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly’s priority was giving rural communities resources to fight the opioid epidemic. 

“Tellemedician that labels even our smallest towns to be connected to places like Indiana Methodist Hospital in Indy,” Donnelly said. 

But the House and Senate bills are different and lawmakers must come together and agree on a final version of the farm bill. 

“Unfortunately the speaker of the hour is has the partisanship angle,” Brown said. 

The House bill contains controversial work requirements for food stamps and just narrowly passed with only Republican votes. 

“Almost all of us represent rural areas that many of which are struggling so we need to work together for bipartisan solutions,” Baldwin said. 

Lawmakers won’t be in Washington at all next week — so farmers will keep waiting, to see what the final Farm bill holds. 

Thursday night Senator John Thune released a statement saying the bipartisan bill not only recognizes the uniqueness of the agriculture community, but also makes a significant investment in the future of farming and ranching.

Senator Tina Smith from Minnesota says the senate version is an example of how lawmakers can come together and get things done in Washington. 

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