U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., released the following statement after President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill on Thursday. Daines secured critical priorities for Montana farmers and ranchers and strong forestry provisions to help prevent catastrophic wildfire.
“As Montana’s lone voice on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, I fought hard to ensure Montana ag priorities and forest management reforms were included in the 2018 Farm Bill,” Daines said. “I’m pleased President Trump signed this critical bill into law today — which will give certainty to Montana farmers and ranchers, and help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.”
The 2018 Farm Bill is authorized until 2023.
Priorities for Montana Agriculture Secured by Daines included:
• Protected crop insurance, a critical part of the safety net for Montana farmers to mitigate risks inherent to agriculture.
• Secured funding for land grant universities, including MSU, specialty crops, and agriculture research stations across Montana.
• Secured provisions to expand broadband access in rural Montana, promote precision agriculture, and prioritize funds to areas that are unserved with no access.
• Included an amendment to help the ARC-County program, an important commodity support program, better reflect actual growing conditions in many of Montana’s large counties.
• An important vaccine bank to help better respond to animal disease outbreaks
• Protected the sugar program, which is critical to ensure our farmers are able to compete on a level playing field
• Fought to support important conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that help farmers and ranchers improve the best practices on their land.
Inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act, which allows states to regulate hemp production and research and make hemp eligible for crop insurance.
Priorities to Help Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires Secured by Daines:
Daines worked to empower states to manage national forests
Improved the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) by allowing the Forest Service to enter into agreements with counties and tribes to carry out timber sales and other work on national forest.
Clarified that excess funds from GNA projects can be used to carry out additional restoration work on the national forests.
Established Forest Service program to that improves water quality and wildlife habitat, reduces wildfire risk or provides other benefits.
Daines’ bipartisan bill with Senator Klobuchar that sets funding aside to support projects that span ownership boundaries on Federal, State, county, tribal, private or other non-Federal land particularly in areas identified as a priority by the state.
Daines fought to reduce red tape
Extended the authority for the Forest Service to expedite treatment in areas on the national forest experiencing insect and disease epidemics while also allowing projects to reduce the threat of wildfire in the same areas.