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Sen. Brown appointed to Farm Bill conference committee

• Aug 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was appointed to serve as a conferee on the committee that will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Senate version of the Farm Bill included several Ohio provisions that Brown helped to secure.

Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in 50 years, and his standing on the committee will help ensure that Ohio farmers have a seat at the table, according to a press release from Brown’s office. It is the second Farm Bill conference committee upon which Brown has served.

As a conferee, Brown said he will continue fighting for Ohio provisions, including language to better support Ohio farmers, protect Lake Erie, spur economic development in rural Ohio, and feed hungry families. Brown secured these priorities in the Senate bill after hearing from Ohio farmers, small businesses, and sportsmen during a series of roundtable discussions he hosted throughout the state. The Senate passed the Farm Bill with wide bipartisan support.

“One out of every eight jobs in Ohio is connected to agriculture, and Ohioans deserve a Farm Bill that reflects their priorities,” Brown said. “I will keep fighting for Ohio’s farmers, families, small businesses, and taxpayers, as well as Lake Erie, as we negotiate the final legislation.”

There are several key provisions in the bipartisan Senate version of the Farm Bill that Brown introduced and fought to secure, including:

• Brown’s Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act:

This bill would help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies.

• Provisions from Brown’s water quality improvement bill, the Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act:

This legislation will improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio by refocusing federal investments to improve water quality and soil health. These efforts will improve federal conservation programs and better support Ohio farmers by reforming the three largest conservation funding programs to protect waterways while expanding access to quality farmland.

• Provisions that would make improvements to dairy programs in order to better target support for small- and medium-sized producers:

The Farm Bill replaces the Margin Protection Program (MPP) with the Dairy Risk Coverage program, which invests an additional $100 million to improve affordability, flexibility, and effectiveness for Ohio dairy farmers.

• Provisions that protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for hungry families in Ohio:

Brown pushed to help protect families in need by helping avoid harmful eligibility changes that would force working families to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.

Language to close existing loopholes ensuring farm payments go to working farmers, not wealthy investors or speculators on Wall Street.

Brown worked with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to save taxpayer money and support farmers by ensuring a strong safety net program for years to come.

Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) secured an amendment that would assist Central State University in Wilberforce.

The senators secured an amendment that would increase the amount of formula funding that Central State will be able to receive from USDA, while not jeopardizing the funding of any other schools.

Brown and his staff held a series of roundtables throughout Ohio to get input from Ohio farmers and stakeholders as he helped write the 2018 Farm Bill.

In 2014, Brown was part of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully negotiated a five-year farm bill.

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