The omnibus spending bill passed by the House and Senate included many victories for agriculture. Farm groups applauded the inclusion of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM Act. It exempts air emissions from animal waste from being subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA, reporting requirements. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, a Democrat on the Senate Ag Committee, was one of the co-authors of the FARM Act.
“What the EPA was looking for was so technical, and so difficult. It would have been such a challenge for our farmers. I was bound and determined to get that turned around. I worked with Senator (Deb) Fischer, my Republican colleague from Nebraska, and the two of us were able to get that reporting requirement removed. Our farmers don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
The congressional spending measure also included a provision to fix the so-called “grain glitch” created in the tax reform bill in December regarding the Section 199 tax provision. Farmers will once again have incentive to sell to cooperatives rather than privately owned companies.
“We were able to, in effect, restore the old deduction system through the new tax rules. So, we were able to get that fixed. I worked nonstop on that to make sure that family farms, family businesses that have been such a cornerstone for our state for so many decades and so many generations, that they would not be affected by this.”
The bill also included a one-year delay of the Electronic Logging Devices mandate for livestock haulers.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says he was “pleased” with the bipartisan deal, which will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.