Alabama Senators say new Farm Bill provides major benefits for state agriculture, rural residents

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress passed the nearly $900-billion Farm Bill this week, setting federal agriculture policy for the next five years. The measure was supported by Alabama’s congressional delegation and members say the state will see direct benefits.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said he spent months trying to help ensure the Farm Bill addressed needs in Alabama.

“For our Alabama farmers, who grow soybeans, cotton, peanuts, you name it,” Jones said. “You know farming is an unpredictable venture, so we spent months working with farmers across Alabama, to hear the concerns and their ideas, to help make sure this bill provided proper safety nets and resources they need to continue to do their important work.”

The Alabama Farmers Federation said the measure would help agriculture interests.

“While no Farm Bill is perfect, this legislation addresses many concerns expressed by our members,” Jimmy Parnell, the Federation’s president, said in a news release. “It gives farmers greater flexibility in choosing programs to fit their individual businesses and allows prices and yields to be adjusted based on global markets and production history. We appreciate Congress and the Trump administration getting a farm bill approved so farmers can have certainty going into next year.”

Jones says the finished version will have a measurable impact.

“I’m happy to say it will support our very vibrant agriculture industry in Alabama,” he said. “Which includes 43,000 farms, supports 580,000 jobs and its economic impact in Alabama totals a whopping $70 billion.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby praised the bill’s changes to the crop insurance program.

“This bipartisan legislation provides much-needed predictability that will significantly benefit our state’s farmers and the entire agriculture industry,” Shelby said.

Alabama Arise, a Montgomery-based nonprofit that helps low-income residents, also had praise for the final bill, citing Alabama residents efforts in opposing proposed cuts to the SNAP program.

“The Farm Bill contains good news for struggling families across Alabama and across the country,” the group said in a news release. “It protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, our nation’s most effective anti-hunger program. SNAP helps nearly 900,000 Alabamians make ends meet, and we’re pleased that Congress passed a farm bill that protects this critical program.”

Jones said the Farm Bill has grant money for major areas of need in rural Alabama, for rural health care, rural broadband and wastewater projects.

“It will have an immediate impact on Alabamians,” he said. “Provisions focus on the same issues that I’ve been talking about during my campaign and since I was sworn in. Health care, broadband, infrastructure.”

“President Trump is expected to sign the farm bill next week.”