US President Donald Trump signs 2018 Farm Bill into law

By Ron Kotrba and Erin Voegele | December 20, 2018

U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law Dec. 20. The $867 billion Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or H.R. 2, reauthorizes several Energy Title programs, including the Biorefinery Assistance Program and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. The 2018 Farm Bill also authorizes $2 million a year for the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program from 2019-’23.

Trump’s signing of the bill caps a nearly nine-month effort to enact the legislation. The House Agriculture Committee first released a draft of the legislation in April. The House initially passed its version of the bill June 21, while the Senate passed its version of the legislation a week later, on June 28.

House and Senate ag committee leaders released the text of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report more than five months later, on Dec. 10. The Senate moved quickly and approved the conference report by a vote of 87 to 13 the following day. The House followed with its vote Dec. 12, passing the conference report by a vote of 369 to 47. 

“This is a success for agriculture to have this legislation passed before the end of the year,” said Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association. “We appreciate the level of assurance the bill provides and will now be able to better focus on working with the administration and Congress on other issues affecting the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. beans.”

Staunch biodiesel advocate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was one of 13 senators who voted against the 2018 Farm Bill. “Federal farm payments should not be manipulated to help corporate farming operations get bigger and bigger at taxpayer expense,” Grassley said. “As far as I’m concerned, recipients cashing subsidy checks from the federal treasury ought to have farm dirt underneath their fingernails to qualify. To my disgust, the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill once again failed to include my payment limit reforms. … Congress needs to get serious about overspending. This Farm Bill missed an opportunity to do just that. … For years, the top 10 percent of farmers has received more than 70 percent of farm payments from the federal government. Enough is enough.”

To view the text of the bill as passed and signed into law, click here

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