Negotiations in the House and Senate earlier this month achieved a budget compromise, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA); Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) is lauding the final package, which addresses many reforms necessary to dairy and crop insurance programs.
The BBA eliminates caps on crop insurance policies for livestock producers, according to John Kran of the MFB National Legislative Counsel. Farmers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 are also provided emergency aid.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall applauded the budget deal, stating that agriculture disaster provisions will help America’s farmers and support food security for all Americans.
“This disaster assistance is much needed so that affected producers can recover and continue to help feed, house, fuel and clothe our consumers,” Duvall said.
“We appreciate the efforts by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and her colleagues on the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for working to include provisions critical to disaster relief and, also, to assist the dairy and livestock industry,” Kran said. “The agreement includes improvements to the Margin Protection Program and expands the opportunity for insurance options moving forward.”
Revisions for dairy producers laboring with historically low prices include lower premium rates and monthly margin calculations as well. The revisions to the Margin Protection Program, according to Kran, would increase tier-one coverage to five million pounds of production history.
“The budget package also addresses two other items critical to agriculture — $6 billion to fight the opioid addiction crisis and an extension of important energy tax provisions, which were not included in the tax reform bill,” Kran said.
Kran also says the budget package includes $20 billion earmarked for infrastructure improvement such as highways and bridge construction and repair, water and wastewater projects, and rural broadband.