Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the Senate farm bill:
“The Senate’s farm bill works for California, the largest agriculture state. Our $50 billion agricultural industry grows 400 different crops, including half of the country’s fruits, vegetables and nuts, and produces a fifth of the nation’s milk. This farm bill invests in the crops we grow, promotes organics and sustainable agriculture, and helps feed American families.
“California is the nation’s organic leader and our bill promotes that rapidly growing industry. Organic farming received an enormous boost in funding and the bill permanently funds organic research. Developing healthier growing methods, for both organics and specialty crops, helps our farmers stay competitive and gives families more options at the grocery store.
“The Senate also rejected House Republicans’ proposals that would make it harder for families to qualify for SNAP benefits, often referred to as food stamps. Ultimately, this is a farm bill that will put more food on kitchen tables and I’m proud to support it.”
- Does NOT include any of the House Republicans’ drastic policy changes to nutrition programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. More than 4 million Californians rely on SNAP benefits and the program is critical in reducing hunger and poverty.
- Does NOT include the King amendment, which would have undermined California’s strong animal welfare laws.
- Reauthorizes programs that support specialty crops, including the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program.
- Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish specialty crop liaisons in regional offices.
- Increases funding for organics, including permanent funding for organic research. It also continues funding the Organic Cost-Share Program and strengthens oversight of organic labeling.
- Preserves funding for major conservation program, including the $25 million carve-out to help producers meet California’s Ambient Air Quality Standards. It also strengthens assistance to Western states for drought mitigation.
- Includes an additional $100 million for dairy insurance and risk coverage. It also refunds premiums paid under an old program that didn’t work for most farmers.
- Includes provisions to promote forest health on federal, state and private land. Focuses federal resources on removing dead or dying trees close to homes and infrastructure, and encourages new markets for wood products to help fund dead-tree removal.
- Reauthorizes key export programs, such as the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program, to help California producers export more products and gain market share in foreign countries.
- The bill makes it easier for tribes to access conservation programs, helps develop native foods, creates new scholarships for tribal students to attend land-grant universities and makes it easier for tribal colleges to access funds to conduct extension activities.
- The bill strengthens the future of rural communities by expanding high-speed internet access, fighting the opioid crisis through telemedicine and community health facility investments and improving rural drinking water infrastructure.