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Rep. Jackson Secures Historic Wins for TX-13 and Production Agriculture in the 2024 Farm Bill Markup

WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, the House Committee on Agriculture passed the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 out of committee by a vote of 33-21. This critical legislation prioritizes production agriculture, restores locally led conservation programs, invests in our rural communities, and safeguards our food supply chain. Congressman Jackson issued the following statement in support of the important legislation. 

Rep. Jackson said: “I am proud of my work on the House Committee on Agriculture which passed a Farm Bill to revitalize rural America and empower our agricultural producers. I want to thank Chairman Thompson for his leadership in delivering one of the most critical pieces of legislation for Texas’ Thirteenth Congressional District. As the representative for the number one agriculture-producing district in Texas, I worked in lockstep with farmers and ranchers across the state to ensure that this bill focuses on the needs of our rural communities. This Farm Bill will enhance our foreign animal disease prevention capabilities, bolster the farm safety net, and defend our agricultural lands from being overtaken by foreign adversaries such as China."

Chairman Thompson said: “The House Committee on Agriculture has worked exhaustively to craft an effective Farm Bill that meets the needs of our hardworking farmers, revitalizes rural America, and strengthens our national security. Thank you to Rep. Jackson for his leadership throughout this process. I am confident that the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 will provide certainty to producers and consumers in Texas and across the nation.”

Support for Livestock:

  • Makes critical investments to protect America’s agricultural industry against foreign animal diseases through the inclusion of Rep. Jackson’s Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act of 2023
  • Includes Rep. Jackson’s Livestock Indemnity Program Enhancement Act, which will establish an additional payment rate for unborn livestock death losses, helping producers mitigate the long-term effects of natural disasters
  • Secures language to assist dairy producers in implementing additional biosecurity measures in the event of a High Path Avian Influenza outbreak
  • Mandates that the USDA must work with universities to reduce the spread of cattle tick fever
  • Enhances USDA’s ability to negotiate regionalization agreements to ensure livestock and poultry producers can continue to trade internationally in the event of an animal disease outbreak
  • Protects livestock producers in Texas from patchwork regulations issued by other states, which has increased costs for both producers and consumers
  • Increases the cap on Tier I coverage for the Dairy Margin Coverage program to 6 million pounds

Restoring the Farm Safety Net:

  • Requires the Risk Management Agency to evaluate the reduction in crop insurance coverage for corn producers planting after the final planting date in the Texas Panhandle
  • Includes language to provide necessary oversight of Secretary Vilsack’s implementation of the Emergency Relief Program for 2022, which punished full-time farmers and discriminately compensated producers based on their race and sex
  • Increases support for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program by enhancing the statutory reference prices for every covered commodity to reflect the costs of production in 2024
  • Raises the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program guarantee to 90 percent, allowing producers to protect themselves from devastating crop losses
  • Provides for a one-time update of base acres to allow farmers without base acres to participate in the PLC and ARC programs and to allow those already participating to add additional base acres
  • Increases the premium support and maximum coverage level for Supplemental Coverage Option insurance, allowing cotton producers to purchase this crop insurance plan and participate in PLC
  • Helps younger producers begin their careers in agriculture by allowing premium discounts for the first 10 years of farming

Enhancing Locally Led Conservation Programs:

  • Includes language to expedite emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in the event of a wildfire, like the ones that devastated the Texas Panhandle earlier this year
  • Modernizes CRP to prioritize the enrollment of marginal lands, ensuring prime farmland remains in production
  • Ensures coordination with land grant universities, like Texas A&M, to eradicate the feral swine population
  • Rejects harmful policies from the Biden administration by reinstating a long-standing provision in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program to require 50 percent of funds from the program to be used for livestock
  • Provides a historic 25 percent increase in investments for working lands conservation programs to help keep farmland in production
  • Incorporates precision agriculture to allow farmers and ranchers to utilize new technologies and become more efficient

Strengthening Rural America:

  • Helps prevent closures of hospitals in rural areas by including Rep. Jackson’s Rural Hospital Technical Assistance Program Act 
  • Enhances the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program by including language championed by Rep. Jackson in the Rural Internet Improvement Act
  • Reauthorizes the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, which connects rural communities with healthcare professionals and educators
  • Encourages the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant Program to be used to increase the workforce and create jobs for veterinarian services in rural areas
  • Supports the Circuit Rider Program, which helps provide water to rural communities
  • Funds essential clean and reliable drinking water systems and wastewater facilities in rural areas

Russell Boening, President of Texas Farm Bureau, said: “Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) commends the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for reporting the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 out of Committee. We especially thank Congressman Ronny Jackson for his leadership throughout the process and for offering commonsense amendments to strengthen the farm and ranch safety net. We are proud his Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) Enhancement Act to assist ranchers who lost unborn calves in disasters is included in the bill. In addition, we are glad to see the inclusion of Congressman Jackson’s Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act to provide more national food security. We thank the Congressman for his dedication to Texas agriculture and look forward to our continued work with him and other Agriculture Committee leaders to pass a strong farm bill this year.” 

Gene Lowrey, Chairman of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, said: “TCFA applauds House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) for passing the 2024 Farm Bill out of committee today. With support from TCFA-area members of the committee, Reps. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), and Monica De La Cruz (R-TX), the chairman passed a bill containing some of the most meaningful improvements to the farm and ranch safety net in more than 20 years. Those improvements include recognition that food and agriculture supply chain security is national security, increased funding for animal disease preparedness and response, improvements to disaster, conservation, risk management and crop insurance programs, increased funding for foreign market development and access programs, increased funding for agricultural research, encouraging additional processing capacity and removing barriers to domestic commerce based on production practices, while omitting controversial and harmful proposals to weaken prompt payment requirements under the Packers and Stockyards Act, reimplement mandatory country-of-origin labeling and mandate how producers must sell their livestock.”

Kody Bessent, CEO of Plains Cotton Growers, said: “Plains Cotton Growers Inc. (PCG) is highly encouraged by the progression of H.R. 8467: “The Food, Farm, and National Security Act of 2024,” as it passed out of the House Agriculture Committee today. We greatly appreciate the efforts led by Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Members of the House Ag Committee like Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) as they have crafted a strong safety net for agriculture. The uncertainty of Mother Nature, coupled with market volatility and high input prices, has taken a toll on cotton producers on the Texas High Plains and the entire cotton belt at large. There are many positive provisions within this bill that address key issues production agriculture has faced over the last several years. It’s imperative that Congress provides our producers with some much-needed security in these uncertain times, and we look forward to continuing the work as the 2024 Farm Bill moves to the House of Representatives floor.”

Jody Bellah, President of the Texas Wheat Producers Association, said: “The Texas Wheat Producers Association commends the House Agriculture Committee on passage of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. The bill includes much-needed enhancements supported by Texas wheat growers, including significant investment to reinforce the farm safety net and expanded market development funding. The association thanks Texas Representatives Ronny Jackson and Monica De La Cruz for voting to support the bill, as well as committee members and staff for addressing farmer priorities. We look forward to working with our delegation and congressional leaders throughout the legislative process of securing a new, five-year farm bill.”

Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, said: “The National Rural Health Association is extremely pleased to see a strong investment in rural health in the Farm, Food, and National Security Act, including Representatives Jackson’s and Kilmer’s work on authorizing the Rural Health Care Facilities Technical Assistance Program. To date, the existing Technical Assistance program has helped 37 hospitals, and an additional 22 projects are underway. We applaud the Representatives’ commitment to improving rural healthcare sustainability and look forward to continuing our work together.”