WASHINGTON, D.C.– Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Chair of the House Republican Conference, continued her efforts to strengthen Eastern Washington’s agriculture community by supporting the Agriculture Act of 2014, which passed the House with bipartisan support. This bicameral agreement saves taxpayers money, while providing the necessary safety net for Eastern Washington’s farmers and agriculture community.
“Eastern Washington’s farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a new five-year farm bill and I support the House passing the Agriculture Act of 2014 which maintains our commitment to rural America while improving the efficiency of many programs,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “I’ve been a strong advocate for getting a new farm bill signed into law. With today’s important vote, I am more confident than ever that it will get done this year, which will be a great victory for Eastern Washington’s largest industry.”
Agriculture has a $16 billion annual total economic impact in Washington State. Family wheat farms are one of the largest economic drivers of jobs in Eastern Washington, generating nearly $925 million in production value to the State’s economy.
“Farmers and growers play a vital role in Eastern Washington’s economy. It’s important that we provide them with the necessary tools to produce a safe and reliable food supply,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. Important to Eastern Washington, the Agricultural Act of 2014 strengthens crop insurance and boosts export opportunities for farmers across the region. The bill also provides one year of full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which is vital to Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.
Today’s legislation also reauthorizes the Market Access Program and leverages public and private dollars to continue and enhance critical agriculture research, which is important to Washington State University, an institution known for its exceptional and ground-breaking research.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 also contains provisions to promote the health and active management of America’s forests and provides certainty to forest products by clarifying that forest roads should not be treated as point source under the Clean Water Act. “By including language addressing forest roads, it is my hope that this will finally resolve the issue, help promote jobs and encourage investments in our timber industry that will contribute to growing our economy in Eastern Washington,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.
The bill maintains critical assistance for families while stopping fraud and misuse to achieve savings in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). By making common-sense reforms to strengthen program integrity and accountability, savings are reached without removing anyone from the SNAP program and will ensure that every person receives the benefits they are intended to get under the current rules of the program.
“I know the importance of the farm bill as it sets forth a framework to guide federal farm policy and programs essential to Eastern Washington for the next five years,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “This legislation is a high priority for our agricultural community and I am pleased with today’s vote and the compromise from both sides of the aisle.”