Gov. Colyer expresses support for Senate farm bill

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., expressed his support for Senate Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan farm bill upon its release today.

“We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Pat Roberts in developing a farm bill that provides predictability and certainty to the farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses of Kansas,” said the Governor. “I am particularly glad to see so many of the provisions made across many of the titles that will be beneficial to Kansas agriculture.”

Support for enhanced and strong risk management tools are critical parts of the farm bill. A new dairy risk management program is offered, and a proposal to develop insurance policies for limited irrigation, irrigated sorghum and irrigation efficiencies reflects the efforts being made in Kansas to prioritize water conservation. In addition, the acreage cap on Conservation Reserve Program acres has been increased to 25 million acres, and the Senate draft proposes to expand the use of haying and grazing during a state of emergency upon a governor’s emergency declaration.

Funding for trade promotion, development and assistance is included through several programs, and funding has been earmarked for research in many areas, including crop health, specialty crops and veterinary services.

“Increased investment in research and trade is critical to growing agriculture,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “Funding for specific research initiatives like biosecurity preparedness, animal health research and veterinary services will directly benefit Kansas agriculture. When we see the farm bill making it a priority to recruit young people to veterinary medicine and also fund veterinary services for food animal practices, it is clear the committee understands veterinary service needs in rural communities.”

As NBAF construction continues in Kansas, the Senate farm bill will elevate the prominence of homeland security within USDA as the agency prepares for management of NBAF. This strategic move further signifies that NBAF, as well as food and agriculture defense, are top priorities. Foreign animal disease and emergency preparedness is key to the Kansas livestock industry, and the creation of a National Animal Disease Preparedness, Response and Recovery Program and a National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank are critical to protecting not only the Kansas livestock industry but the state’s economy.

“From the first Farm Bill hearing here in Kansas in February 2017, it has been clear that Senator Roberts and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee have listened to what agriculture in Kansas and across the U.S. needs from this farm bill,” said Governor Colyer. “The Senate bill released today reflects the commitment to addressing those needs.”