President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) into law on December 20, following months of drawn-out negotiations in the House and Senate. The legislation, commonly referred to as the “farm bill,” modifies and extends some of the major programs for land conservation, food and nutrition assistance, trade promotion, rural development, research, forestry, horticulture, and other programs within the Department of Agriculture (USDA) through fiscal year 2023.
By the end of August, the Senate passed nine of their 12 appropriations bills, while the House – on recess in August – passed six. The bills passed by both chambers include funding for the Department of the Interior, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Energy, but only the Senate voted on spending for the Department of Agriculture. The two chambers must conference to negotiate mutually agreeable final language, then pass reconciled versions of the appropriations packages. Neither chamber has yet passed their Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bills.
The House Committee on Agriculture voted 26-20 to advance the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2), commonly referred to as the “farm bill,” which was introduced by Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX-11). With authorization of the Agricultural Act of 2014 lapsing at the end of September, the massive farm bill package approved by the committee authorizes programs across the USDA including sections on commodities and trade, loans and insurance, conservation and forestry, research, nutrition, and rural development.