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WASHINGTON — Late Thursday afternoon the Senate passed their version of 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 86-11.

The bipartisan Farm Bill would expand rural broadband, protect critical food programs and maintain current the crop insurance and commodity payment process.

Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said he is excited to see no harmful cuts were recommended for farm programs within the piece of legislation.

“Missouri Farm Bureau supported passage of the bill and appreciated Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Claire McCaskill voting to approve the measure,” Hurst said. “We were pleased to see it move through the Senate with no harmful cuts to crop insurance or farm programs.”

Hurst said that Missouri Farm Bureau is looking to the conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate version of the bill. He is hopeful that an agreement will be reached before the Sept. 30 expiration date of the 2017 Farm Bill.

“As farmers in Missouri face low prices for their products and uncertainty surrounding trade, it is refreshing to see Congress move forward on legislation that will truly make a difference in the lives of rural Americans,” Hurst added.

Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke with KMZU The Farm yesterday while the bill was stalled to go over what the Senate had already decided. As she explained, the Senate’s version would benefit Missourians in various ways including:

  • Expanding resources to deploy broadband to rural communities
  • Prioritizing areas that have scarce broadband service
  • Increasing the Community Connect Program
  • Protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Adding anti-fraud protection to SNAP to prevent abuse of the system

“Our farmers, ranchers and producers need broadband to succeed in today’s day and age, and the passage of today’s bipartisan Farm Bill expands our ability to secure coverage for Missouri communities that lack access,” McCaskill said in a statement. “With Missouri’s farmers fearful that retaliatory tariffs may have a damaging effect on their businesses, this bill is a critical victory to give a bit more certainty to our producers during these uncertain times.”