President signs critical bill into law
After more than a year of meetings with legislators and advocating for Washington farmers, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) was gratified to see Congress act quickly in a bipartisan manner to pass the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill last week. Today, WAWG applauds President Trump for signing the bill into law.
“The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill brings certainty to our growers by providing a strong safety net through commodity programs and keeping crop insurance stable and affordable. It also restores funding of the Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Programs (MAP) that are critical to maintaining our overseas markets,” said Jeffrey Shawver, WAWG president and a farmer from Connell, Wash. “Throughout this process, we had strong support from every member of Washington State’s federal delegation, and we want to thank our senators and representatives for their engagement with our industry. We truly appreciate their understanding of the importance of the wheat industry to our state’s economy.”
The leadership and staff of WAWG made multiple trips to Washington, D.C. last year to make sure the wheat industry had a voice at the table. The final version of the farm bill included several of WAWG’s top priorities that they advocated for, including giving growers the option to reselect farm programs throughout the life of the farm bill; allowing the Farm Service Agency to use Risk Management Agency data when available to help determine farm program payments; increasing the Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap to 27 million; increased funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and research funding for alternative methods of adjusting for quality losses.
“This legislation is a win for agriculture,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of WAWG. “Our wheat farmers need the support provided by the farm bill to continue supplying the country and the world with the safest, most affordable food available, especially when they are dealing with uncertainty around trade and low commodity prices. We look forward to working with Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement this bill.”
WAWG worked closely with the National Association of Wheat Growers to work with members of Congress and both the Senate and House ag committees to educate them on issues facing the wheat industry.
“The staff at the National Association of Wheat Growers worked tirelessly to represent our growers and provide feedback to Congress and the state organizations as the 2018 Farm Bill was being written. The wheat industry’s leadership at the national level has never been stronger,” Hennings concluded