young winter wheat
INSURANCE SAFE: Farmers at the annual 3i Show were relieved to hear Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., say that he expects the House version of the farm bill to move forward, and that the Crop Insurance Title is safe.

Congressman says committee will see farm bill ‘any day now’

Rep. Roger Marshall expects agreement on SNAP, quick move out of committee for 2018 Farm Bill.

Members of the House Ag Committee will be getting their first look at the full text of the proposed 2018 Farm Bill any day now, and the public will see it in another week or so, Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., told visitors at the annual 3i Show in late March.

He expressed confidence that the stalemate over the nutrition title will be resolved and the legislation will move forward, saying that “SNAP must remain in there. It needs to be part of the farm bill.”

“The Democrats walked out over the work requirement for food aid,” he said. “But the bill provides money for training and education, and requires only 20 hours a week of work or training for a job. The Republican position is that this offers a way to give a fish and teach to fish at the same time.”

Marshall said he is confident that the bill contains adequate funding for crop insurance, and that Title 1 will continue to offer farmers a choice of Price Loss Coverage or Agricultural Risk Coverage. He predicted that acreage for the Conservation Reserve Program will hold steady, and that more money will go to the highly utilized Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Constituents on hand for the town hall-style presentation asked Marshall if there would be language in the nutrition title work requirement to address the problem that residents in a very rural area might face in finding available work or in accessing training, especially if they didn’t have a car.

Marshall said he thought that options would be addressed, including perhaps offering training programs via closed circuit television or the internet, which would give people a way to minimize travel. He said that unemployment is very low in rural areas, and that the chances for a person who obtained necessary skills being able to find a good-paying job are quite good.

INTRODUCING MARSHALL: 3i Show chief executive Eddie Estes, left, introduces Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., for a town hall style presentation on the 2018 Farm Bill.

He assured the audience that the Renewable Fuel Standard is good through 2022, and said it appears that biofuel opponents have decided to stop fighting it, at least for now. He said another positive thing for Kansas is that it appears there is a pathway to using sorghum oil in the manufacture of biodiesel fuel.

The final provisions of the recent tax bill had to be worked out as part of the Omnibus Spending Bill. That bill passed as the hourglass on shutting down the government ticked down, but Marshall said Congress did manage to address the troublesome 199A rule, which had worried grain handlers. As originally written, the 199A rule allowed farmers to deduct 20% of all earnings on grain sales, but only if the grain was sold to a co-op. That worried private grain handlers, who saw themselves at a disadvantage.

“Basically, it was just put back like it was before,” he said. C-Corps and LLCs were also added to the businesses that got a major tax cut.

Agricultural truck drivers also got a six-month grace period to ease into new electronic device logging requirements.

“The goal is to have the industry help write the rules,” Marshall said. “There seems to be acknowledgment that we must take animal welfare into consideration when we are looking at hours regulations on ag hauling.”

And finally, in response to a question from the audience, Marshall said yes, he will be running for re-election in November.

“I’ve already filed,” he said. “I didn’t make an announcement because I didn’t want to take any attention away from all the important things that are going on.”

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