2018 Farm Bill Introduced to the House
The House Agriculture Committee released its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, entitled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (HR 2), last Thursday. The 641 page bill touches on all aspects of agriculture, from food stamps and crop insurance, to conservation and forestry issues, and much more.
The bill includes language that clarifies that the federal government will not give procurement preference to wood products that are Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, and will instead use the USDA's BioPreferred/BioBased program standards, which SLMA lobbied to accept solid sawn lumber in the 2014 Farm Bill. Additionally, the current text of the bill includes the research section of the Timber Innovation Act. SLMA continues to work with our friends on Capitol Hill and in the forestry sector to include the remaining parts of the Timber Innovation Act- the Wood Innovation Grants program and Tall Wood Building Competition- and maintain the procurement preference language in the final bill.
In addition to SLMA's priorities, the bill includes many of the recommendations supported by the Forestry in the Farm Bill Coalition, which consists of a wide range of conservation, forestry and forest products organizations, such as SLMA. The House Agriculture Committee is expected to vote the bill out of Committee today. It is unclear when the bill will be on the House floor for a vote. The Senate has yet to release its version of the 2018 Farm Bill. Without a new farm bill or an extension, the provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill will expire on September 30, 2018.