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Bipartisan Farm Bill Clears Senate Ag Committee
Nebraska Ag Connection - 06/14/2018

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the 2018 Farm Bill. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the committee and the chairman of the Livestock Subcommittee, voted in favor of advancing the bill. The bipartisan bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

"Today I represented Nebraska on the Senate Agriculture Committee as we crafted important legislation for our state, the Senate farm bill.

"This bill continues a strong farm safety net that includes crop insurance, my number one priority going into this process. Additionally, the bill recognizes the importance of our trade promotion programs, and builds upon efforts to enhance agricultural productivity by expanding broadband access in rural America.

"I was also pleased to sponsor several amendments, which were adopted unanimously in the manager's package, to reward ag producers using efficient water irrigation conservation technology, support precision agriculture, and provide relief for agriculture haulers.

"Overall, I am confident this is a strong, bipartisan bill that would give Nebraska farmers and ranchers the tools and certainty needed to provide food, fuel and fiber to the world."

The following amendments sponsored by Fischer were included in the Senate Farm Bill committee print:

- Rewarding Producers Using Efficient Water Irrigation Conservation Technology

Fischer's amendment would direct the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to recognize as a best management practice, the use of remote telemetry data systems for irrigation scheduling. Such systems combine the use cloud-based field, weather, crop and soil data, which ensures that the precise amount of water, and no more, is applied to crops, saving water and energy and increasing yields.

- Expanding the Definition of Livestock for Hours of Service Requirements

Fischer's amendment would expand the definition of livestock to include llamas, alpacas, live fish, and crawfish. With the expanded definition, these products would receive the exemption for agriculture haulers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's hours of service requirements.

- The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act

The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act amendment, cosponsored by Senator Fischer, would create a task force at the FCC charged with identifying breaks in high-speed internet connectivity across America's farm and ranch land. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the task force would promote the rapid expansion of high-speed broadband, with the goal of achieving service to 95 percent of agricultural lands by 2025.

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