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Strengthening Rural America

President signs Farm Bill of 2018 into law offering farmers security, peace of mind for new year
Story by: Sarah Geyer 1/28/2019

President Donald Trump signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act (AIA) of 2018, better known as the 2018 Farm Bill, on Dec. 20. Following a long, often tumultuous journey to the White House, the 1,006-page legislation is based on a five-year budget of $428 billion and $867 billion for 10 years.

“This is a great day for our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, as President Trump’s signature on this bill is a Christmas present to American agriculture,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, following the much-anticipated signing ceremony. “Farmers take financial risks every year as a matter of doing business, so having a farm bill in place gives them peace of mind to make their decisions for the future. The bill bolsters farm safety net programs, protects federal crop insurance, and maintains strong rural development and research initiatives. All told, this is a farm bill that should be welcomed by producers, and at USDA we will eagerly implement its provisions.”

More than 76 percent of the $428 billion is designated for nutritional programs. Of the bill’s 11 titles, crop insurance, commodities, and conservation constitute 23 percent or $99 billion of the five-year budget.

Other sections, including trade, miscellaneous, horticulture, research and extension, energy, forestry, revenues, rural development, and credit account for $3.5 billion, less than 1 percent of the budget.

The AIA of 2018 replaces the 2014 Farm Bill, which expired in August. Unlike the 2014 version, which contained new programs and major changes, this new farm bill is based, for the most part, on reauthorizations, with strategic changes focused on strengthening rural America, especially the country’s farmers.

What does the 2018 Farm Bill mean for me?


•    Reauthorizes and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, but instead of once every five years, producers can annually elect ARC and PLC programs and commodities.

•    Allows for a 15-percent increase in reference prices depending on market conditions.

•    Improves ARC by basing payment rates on the physical location of base acres and establishing a separate irrigated and non-irrigated revenue guarantee.

•    Expands some federal agricultural subsidies to nieces, nephews, and cousins of farmers.

•    Strengthens dairy safety net by increasing risk coverage, reducing and offering flexibility with premiums.

Crop insurance:

•    Offers insurance for forage and grazing and harvested grain in the same season for certain crops.

•    Extends the discount for beginning farmers and ranchers from five years to 10 years.


•    Increases limits of direct farm ownership loans from $300,000 to $600,000 and guaranteed ownership loans from $700,000 to $1,750,000.

•    Amends the Farm Ownership Loan Program to allow military experience or agricultural education to qualify for a portion of the experience requirement.


•    Increases the acreage cap by the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from its current 24 million level to 29 million acres by 2023, while reducing rental rates, cost-share, and incentive payments.   

Rural Development:

•    Creates new broadband standards and incentives for borrowers.


•    Establishes federal vaccination bank with priority to Foot and Mouth Disease.

•    Legalizes industrial hemp which includes a crop insurance program.

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This document copyright © 2019 by Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. All rights reserved. Legal Notice