WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate passed the final 2018 Farm Bill that includes U.S Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) provisions to protect Lake Erie and water quality across the state of Ohio. The final bill includes provisions from Brown’s bipartisan Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act, which will better utilize existing federal water programs to protect waterways and expand access to quality farmland. The final Farm Bill is set to pass the House next before it heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

“This bipartisan bill is good for farmers, good for taxpayers, and good for Lake Erie,” Brown said. “I’m proud of our work to keep Lake Erie and Ohio waterways clean for the businesses, farmers and residents who rely on them, while also maintaining quality farmland for Ohio farmers.”

Brown, as a member of the committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill, fought for provisions that protect Lake Erie and help improve water quality for Ohio families.

The final bill includes Brown’s provisions to:

  • Create a new Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) program to better promote water quality. This prioritizes enrolling lands in the Conservation Reserve Program that will best prevent runoff and protect water quality.
  • Authorize advanced payments for beginning farmers as a part of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). This program would reserve funding for conservation practices that protect drinking water.
  • Include reforms to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which would prioritize cover crops and crop rotations.
  • Authorize increased payments for the top 10 high-priority practices that protect the environment.
  • Increase funding to preserve farmland for future generations.

The provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill are based on Brown’s water quality improvement bill, the Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act. 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.

More information on the final Farm Bill can be found HERE. Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years.