USDA 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles

January 25, 2018

On Wednesday, USDA released 2018 Farm Bill & Legislative Principles which outlines USDA’s support for legislation in nine areas:

Farm Production and Conservation: USDA supports farm safety nets and innovative crop insurance products and changes to provide risk protection for America’s farmers. USDA also supports legislation that encourages the use of productive, fertile lands and financial support for improving soil, water, and air quality through conservation programs.

Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs: Expanding investments, financial partnerships and improving the accountability of export promotion programs will help improve and promote U.S. market competitiveness. The U.S. can increase agricultural exports and foreign partnerships with legislation that supports USDA expertise in scientific and technical areas to monitor and engage with foreign partners.

Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services: Food and nutrition programs provide support for millions of Americans. USDA supports legislation to improve the integrity and efficiency of nutrition policies, support science-based programs with measurable outcomes, and reduce taxpayer waste, fraud, and abuse though shared data and technology modernization. The principles also outline USDA’s support to provide Americans with programs that promote self-sufficiency, economic mobility, and long-term employment stability.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs: This principle encourages support for market growth opportunities for specialty crop growers by reducing regulatory barriers and streamlining scientific reviews of production innovations. USDA encourages legislation to support the safety of our domestic food supply through the modernization of prevention, scientific, and biosecurity tools. The principles also outline support for the USDA organic certified seal to ensure all products meet consistent standards.

Food Safety and Inspection: To promote public health, the U.S. must commit the appropriate resources for modern tools and methods to ensure the highest inspection standards. USDA encourages Congress to support FSIS programs, improve the clarity of food safety responsibilities, and focus USDA resources to areas that pose the greatest public health risk.

Research, Education, and Economics: The USDA supports legislation to promote U.S. food and agricultural scientific development through public-private partnerships, prioritized investments in education and the development of an impact evaluation approach.

Rural Development: USDA supports legislation that invests in the infrastructure to support rural prosperity and development. Consistency in programs will assist communities in creating a quality of life that attracts younger generations. USDA strongly supports providing rural communities with reliable and affordable internet access.

Natural Resources and Environment: USDA supports reducing litigative risk and regulatory burdens of environmental review, habitat protection, and fire management to improve the health of U.S. forests while promoting rural economic growth.

Management: USDA supports enhancing customer service and compliance by modernizing IT solutions and reducing regulatory burdens. USDA also encourages harnessing the unique expertise within the Department to help develop workforce policy to support U.S. farmers.

USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles does not offer specifics regarding the authorities or increased spending. USDA developed the principles to share with Congress for consideration as the Farm Bill is being drafted.