U.S. SECRETARY of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this month announced USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018, which serve as a road map to inform Congress of what ag stakeholders want to see in the next Farm Bill.
It’s a crucial year for agriculture. As Congress writes the Farm Bill, negotiations continue over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Canada announced it will cooperate with 10 other countries — and without the U.S. — and sign a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in March.
Highlights of the principles authored by Perdue’s office include:
- Providing a farm safety net that helps American farmers weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments.
- Promote a variety of innovative crop insurance products and changes, enabling farmers to make sound production decisions and to manage operational risk.
- Encourage entry into farming through increased access to land and capital for young, beginning, veteran and underrepresented farmers.
- Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production, while land retired for conservation purposes favors more environmentally sensitive acres.
- Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.
- Open foreign markets by increasing USDA expertise in scientific and technical areas to more effectively monitor foreign practices that impede U.S. agricultural exports and engage with foreign partners to address them.
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