December 20, 2018
As we head into the new year, I am pleased that farmers across Iowa and the nation will now have the certainty they need to be able to plan for the upcoming planting season thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Having expired in October, Congress was finally able to put aside its partisan differences and pass a farm bill that allows farmers to plant crops, raise livestock, and make investments that create jobs. I was proud to vote in favor of this bipartisan bill.
Incorporated into the legislation were two bills that I have proudly championed. Both the Precision Agriculture Act and the SIREN Act will help our farmers.
The Precision Agriculture Act establishes a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) task force, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to evaluate the best ways to meet the broadband connectivity and technological needs of our farmers and rural communities. The Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Act creates a $10 million grant program for EMS agencies in rural areas to help address the issues they face. These include personnel recruitment and retention, providing continuing education and preparedness training, purchasing updated equipment, maintaining adequate coverage during prolonged transport times, and obtaining qualified medical oversight. Both of these bills will aid in serving our rural communities emergency response needs and help our farmers increase their yields and be more productive.
The 2018 Farm Bill also included many provisions that I was happy to support. This includes protecting crop insurance to provide a safety net for beginning farmers against crop failures and natural disasters such as the droughts we’ve seen in Iowa the last few years. Additionally, I pushed to ensure this bill contains $350 million per year to help expand new broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Finally, portions of legislation I introduced aimed at allowing farmers to update program yields for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) as a way to boost their eligibility for support were also included in the final bill.
Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has passed, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure this legislation is fully implemented and provides the necessary support for our farmers, rural communities and economy.
Iowa’s Second District