2018 Farm Bill Passes - West Texas BenefitsThe Lubbock Chamber of Commerce is excited about the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and would like to thank House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, Congressman Jodey Arrington, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Ted Cruz for their hard work and votes of support. (Read Lubbock Chamber Chairman Cory Powell's statement here.)
The past five years have been difficult for farmers both regionally and nationwide as they face battles with weather, foreign tariffs and subsidies, and declining commodity prices. The passage of this farm bill should bring some long sought after certainty and stability to the marketplace for farmers and ranchers who support nearly 16 million American jobs related to agriculture.
One of the greatest achievements included in this year’s farm bill is the inclusion of cotton as a title one commodity. Cotton was left out of the previous farm bill, which led to extreme vulnerability for cotton farmers in West Texas, where one quarter of the country’s cotton crop is produced. The cotton industry as a whole is responsible for billions in economic output locally, so the stability is warmly welcomed.
The Lubbock Chamber has stood behind organizations who have diligently advocated for a farm bill that would benefit local farm operations that fuel the Lubbock economic engine. Beginning in 2017, the Chamber distributed “Lubbock Business Supports Ag” stickers at agriculture-related events and legislative meetings.
This included a trip to San Angelo for the West Texas Legislative Summit and Farm Bill Listening Tour co-hosted by House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, as well as providing Senator Cruz with a sticker during his agriculture tour of Lubbock. In May of this year, the Chamber travelled to Washington, DC to visit with Congressman Arrington, Senator Cruz, Senator Cornyn, and House Agriculture Committee staff members about the farm bill (and of course to pass out more stickers).
All in all, the Chamber is glad that a new farm bill has passed and that it includes many provisions that will be beneficial to agribusiness in West Texas. In addition to the commodity coverage, new investments will be made in rural internet access, rural entrepreneurship, and expanded support for family farms. We look forward to continuing to support agriculture and agribusiness as the lifeblood of our local economy.