Backing the 2024 Farm Bill, Championing Provisions for Wisconsin’s Farmers

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Backing the 2024 Farm Bill, Championing Provisions for Wisconsin’s Farmers

May 25, 2024 - 09:32
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For the first time in over a decade, Wisconsin had a seat at the table in building the Farm Bill. We are America’s Dairyland and one of the leading states in the country for soybean, corn, and potato production, so this is one of the most important bills we have completed this Congress that directly impacts the people in my district. America’s farmers and agricultural producers provide not just for our nation, but also for the world, and this year’s Farm Bill delivers for those who keep us fed, fueled, and clothed.

Dairy farmers work incredibly hard, and they need to know Congress has their backs. We are bringing their products back to our schools through the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act so kids can get the nutrients they need to be healthy. I also cosponsored the Dairy Farm Resiliency Act to increase the cap on Tier I coverage for the Dairy Margin Coverage program to six million pounds to provide a more robust safety net for producers and ensured we maintained the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives.

As a Member on the Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture Subcommittee, I am proud of the protections we provided for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP provisions in the 2024 Farm Bill maintain cost-of-living adjustments to account for inflation and prevent future administrations from bypassing Congress to make changes to SNAP, ensuring that folks who need a hand up are able to receive one. We are also making sure Americans have clean water with the inclusion of the Healthy H2O Act to continue our efforts in filtering PFAS out of families’ drinking water.

A farmer’s products cannot get to our tables without a strong workforce, which is why I am incredibly proud that my Ag Vets Act is in the Farm Bill so farmers can meet their labor demands while simultaneously supporting veterans entering the agriculture industry.

I am proud of the work done with my Republican committee colleagues on this year’s Farm Bill and look forward to it providing for Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.

Passage of this year’s Farm Bill includes five policies introduced or cosponsored by me, including:

  • The Ag Vets Act, which directs the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to award competitive grants to prepare veterans for entering the farming and ranching industries
  • The Healthy H2O Act, which provides direct assistance to rural communities, households, and nonprofits to test their drinking water and fund filtration technology
  • The Dairy Farm Resiliency Act to increase the cap on Tier I coverage for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program to six million pounds
  • The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to amend the current restrictions and permit schools to offer students whole, reduced-fat, low-fat – flavored and unflavored milk
  • Inclusion of the Hot Foods Study

The 2024 Farm Bill also includes many of my top priorities:

Uplifting Dairy Farmers and Producers

  • Maintains the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, with a commitment to work to increase funding levels by $16 million
  • Restores Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs) to the “higher-of” formula for the calculation of the price of Class I (fluid) milk
  • Adds a requirement to collect and publish cost-of-production data for organic milk through the Organic Production and Market Data Initiative
  • Allows farmers to voluntarily enter into forward price contracts with handlers for pooled milk used for Class II, III, or IV purposes under FMMOs and permits regulated handlers to pay farmers in accordance with the terms of a forward contract instead of paying the minimum federal order blend price for pooled milk

Growing Markets, Research, and the Workforce

  • Maintains mandatory funding for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged veteran farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning farmers and ranchers
  • Increases funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative
  • Maintains mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
  • Expands the reach and impact of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) allowing for heightened market access and trade promotion
  • Improves crop insurance by expanding premium assistance for beginning and veteran farmers, utilizes research and development programs, and enhances specific coverage options to reduce the need for unbudgeted ad hoc disaster assistance
  • Provides a one-time opportunity to establish base acres for producers who (1) currently do not have base; or (2) who’s average plantings from 2019-2023 exceed existing base on the farm

Protecting Federal Nutrition Assistance

  • Maintains cost-of-living adjustments to ensure SNAP benefits continue to account for inflation
  • Implements policy to prevent a future administration from bypassing Congress to unilaterally cut or expand SNAP benefits

Supporting the Organic Industry

  • Continues to fund the Organic Certification Cost Share Program and provides the Organic Production and Market Data Initiatives
  • Provides the Secretary with the authority to provide technical assistance, outreach, and education to support organic production through existing programs across various agencies within USDA

Closing the Digital Divide

  • Develops a multifaceted approach to rural broadband that brings together all available technology in order to create a resilient, flexible, and widespread network of rural broadband capability
  • Integrates the ReConnect Program into the Farm Bill Rural Broadband Program while maintaining dedicated funds for the program

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