WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill that included several of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) provisions. Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years.
Brown’s provisions include language to better support Ohio farmers, protect Lake Erie, spur economic development in rural Ohio, and feed hungry families. Brown secured these priorities after hearing from Ohio farmers, small businesses, and sportsmen during a series of roundtable discussions he hosted throughout the state. The House passed their version of the Farm Bill last week, and Brown will continue fighting to make sure Ohio priorities are included in the final bill. The Senate passed the bill with wide bipartisan support by a vote of 86-11.
According to a 2017 Ohio State University report on the “Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy,” Ohio’s agricultural and food production sector accounts for $1 in every $13 of the state’s GSP, and 1 in 8 jobs in Ohio.
“This bill is big win for Ohio, and it’s the product of a long, bipartisan process, working with Ohio farmers and communities over the past year,” said Brown. “The Senate Farm Bill is good for farmers, good for families, good for taxpayers, good for jobs, and good for Lake Erie. I will continue pushing Congress to make sure the final bill is good for Ohio.”
“Ohio has been fortunate to have Senator Sherrod Brown providing leadership to move a Farm Bill forward via his work on the Senate Agriculture Committee,” said Frank Burkett III, president, Ohio Farm Bureau. “At a time of great uncertainty in the farm economy, it is great to have leaders who recognize the challenges while working to provide solutions.”
There are several key provisions in the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill that Brown introduced and fought to secure, including:
- Brown’s Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act:
- This bill would help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies.
- Provisions from Brown’s water quality improvement bill, the Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act:
- This legislation will improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio by refocusing federal investments to improve water quality and soil health. These efforts will improve federal conservation programs and better support Ohio farmers by reforming the three largest conservation funding programs to protect waterways while expanding access to quality farmland.
- Provisions that would make improvements to dairy programs in order to better target support for small- and medium-sized producers:
- The Farm Bill replaces the Margin Protection Program (MPP) with the Dairy Risk Coverage program, which invests an additional $100 million to improve affordability, flexibility, and effectiveness for Ohio dairy farmers.
- Provisions that protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for hungry families in Ohio:
- Brown pushed to help protect families in need by helping avoid harmful eligibility changes that would force working families to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.
- Language to close existing loopholes ensuring farm payments go to working farmers, not wealthy investors or speculators on Wall Street.
- Brown worked with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to save taxpayer money and support farmers by ensuring a strong safety net program for years to come.
- Brown and Portman secured an amendment that would assist Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.
- The Senators secured an amendment that would increase the amount of formula funding that Central State will be able to receive from USDA, while not jeopardizing the funding of any other schools.
Brown and his staff held a series of roundtables throughout Ohio to get input from Ohio farmers and stakeholders as he helped write the 2018 Farm Bill. In 2014, Brown was part of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully negotiated a five-year farm bill.