President Trump has threatened an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. China has prepared a $60 billion counterstrike that’s expected to increase the squeeze on U.S. agriculture. 

As both sides continue their international shoving match, a host of domestic issues are waiting in the wings. Among them is the 2018 Farm Bill which is expected to have a healthy debate of its own.

Peter Tubbs has more. Producer contact peter.tubbs@iptv.org

The House and Senate voted send the 2018 Farm Bill to conference committee this week, as the document trudges towards a final vote in Congress. The current Farm Bill, which was signed in 2014, expires at the end of September, 2018.

The most contentious fight of the conference will be over the future of SNAP benefits. In June, the House passed an amendment requiring those receiving benefits to 20 work hours a week to qualify for SNAP monies. The Senate later defeated a similar amendment to its own version of the Farm Bill.

Cotton growers may benefit from the current versions of the Farm Bill. The crop insurance title includes continuation of the Agriculture Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage insurance programs for cotton at the current rate, an item threatened in earlier editions of the measure.

The Senate version seeks to limit total farm subsidies to large farms as well as containing payments to farmers, spouses, and a single farm manager.

Congressman Michael Conaway, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, is optimistic that a compromise bill can be reached.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts is looking forward to starting the process and providing certainty to U.S. farmers, families and rural communities.

The National Farmer’s Union asked House leaders to include language in the bill to “mitigate the harm of the significant and lasting market disruptions” brought on by the nation’s current trade disputes.

With the August recess shortened to one week, Congress will return on the 13th to work on differences between the two bills.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.