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Farm Bill passes Senate Ag Committee

COLUMBUS, OH -- On June 13, in the process of passing a 2018 Farm Bill, the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry passed a strong draft farm bill by a vote of 20 to 1.  
“The Senate Agriculture Committee worked across party lines and produced a comprehensive bill correcting many of the shortfalls in the failed House bill,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).
The Senate bill scales up investments in local and regional food and farm markets which provide opportunities for increased farm profitability, community health, and economic viability through the Local Agriculture Market Program championed by Senator Sherrod Brown. 
This provision provides permanent mandatory funding for local food production initiatives that can be utilized by the more than 20 local food councils in Ohio, small to mid-scale farmers that direct market their products, and those that process those products and create more jobs in their communities.
It makes important policy improvements to crop insurance and conservation programs, invests in domestic organic agriculture, provides the resources and authority to protect the integrity of the organic marketplace and, according to Ranking Member Senator Debbie Stabenow, “builds the bench for the next generation” by making long-term investments in beginning farmer and rancher programs.
During the committee debate Senator Sherrod Brown spoke to the importance of conservation programs as farmers work to mitigate the water quality issues we face. The Senate bill makes no overall cuts to the conservation title; the House version cut this by more than $800 million. 
“While the bill fails to make meaningful reforms to farm subsidy programs to limit economic and farm concentration, it provides a solid foundation for farm bill negotiations on the Senate floor and in future negotiations with the House of Representatives,” said Lipstreu.      
“OEFFA appreciates Senator Brown’s strong leadership on this bill and for representing the needs of family farmers, organic and sustainable agriculture, and communities working to increase health through the provision of local and regionally produced and organic food,” Lipstreu concluded.