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What the Budget Bill Means for Farmers and Ranchers

The disaster assistance spending measure has been watched carefully by producers who were hit hard by natural disasters. Producers in California, Florida, Texas, and even Puerto Rico lost crops and livestock because of wildfires and hurricanes last year. Politico says America’s dairy and cotton producers also have been looking for subsidy increases because of a serious economic downturn. The bill contains a total of $89 billion in disaster aid, $3.5 billion of which is intended for the agriculture industry. The majority of that money is ad hoc disaster assistance. A smaller portion of that money is intended to expand emergency USDA programs, such as those for livestock, conserving watersheds, and repairing the department’s facilities. House and Senate leaders were hoping to get a deduction that incentivizes farmers to sell their products to agricultural cooperatives rather than private companies would make the cut. It wasn’t written into the Republican tax overhaul and didn’t make it into the bipartisan budget bill. Lawmakers say they will continue working with the grain industry to find a solution.