WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill), which includes his amendment to help create rural jobs.
“This legislation empowers Louisiana farmers and sugar producers to succeed,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The bill’s investments in telemedicine and rural community treatment facilities helps improve health outcomes for Louisianans and fight opioid addiction. And it also includes my provision creating a grant program that creates jobs in rural communities, increase opportunity and boost local economies.”
The 2018 Farm Bill:
- Provides $500 million to promote rural small businesses, including Cassidy’s provision creating a competitive grant program to create rural jobs
- Provides continued funding for the federal sugar program. This legislation also rejected proposals that would have depressed sugar farmer’s prices with subsidized imports.
- More than doubles disaster assistance coverage options for crops that are currently not eligible for crop insurance. These include aquaculture and floriculture crops, seed crops, industrial crops, Christmas tree crops, and turf grass.
- Expands export opportunities for Louisiana farmers by providing an additional $500 million in permanent funding over the next decade to help find new foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products.
- Reauthorizes key safety net programs for agricultural producers, including federal crop insurance and farm commodity programs that provide a floor price and income support for covered commodities including Louisiana soybean, rice and cotton.
- Provides additional funding to expand broadband high-speed Internet access to rural communities
- Prioritizes funding for projects to help address the opioid crisis in rural America through expanded telemedicine and community facility investments.