Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 also referred to as the Farm Bill. With many important Alaska provisions included, Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement after its passage:
“This legislation is important for Alaskans because there are many provisions, which I fought for, that will support communities of all sizes across the state,” said Congressman Young. “We know that food insecurity is a reality for many Alaskans and this year’s Farm Bill prioritizes money to address this issue for both rural and urban areas. I’m pleased that this five year investment will also support water and sewer systems for rural and Alaska Native villages as well as rural broadband grants. While changes were made to this bill, there are many important programs that will help the future of Alaska.”
Alaska Specific Victories
- Traditional Foods – Includes expanded liability protections for entities and organizations that serve traditional foods, based on an amendment Congressman Young offered earlier this year.
- Rural Alaska Village Grant Program – Authorizes $30 million to develop better drinking water and sanitation facilities in rural Alaska.
- Education Grants to Alaska Native Serving Institutions – Authorizes $10 million to help the institutions to increase their self-sufficiency and capacity to serve students.
- Micro-Grants for Food Security – Authorizes $4 million to be directed to Alaska to increase locally grown food in food insecure communities.
- Rural Water and Wastewater Circuit RiderProgram – Authorizes $25 million to provide technical assistance to rural water systems experiencing operations, financial, or managerial issues.
- Buy American – Prioritizes the purchase of American caught fish for the National School Lunch Program. Alaska continues to lead the country in the amount of fish commercially caught.
- Commercial Hemp Legalization – Allows for the cultivation of hemp in manufacturing, medical and other industries which will be helpful to Alaska’s economy.
H.R. 2 passed the House by a vote of 369 - 47 and will now go to President Trump for final approval. H.R. 2 reauthorizes farm and nutrition assistance programs for five years (through 2023), all within a budget-neutral framework. This includes major programs for income support, food and nutrition, land conservation, trade promotion, rural development, research, forestry, horticulture, and other programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).