WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) voted to pass the Farm Bill Conference Report today.  The measure passed by bipartisan margin of 87-13.  The House passed its version on June 21, and the Senate passed its version on June 28.  The two measures were then reconciled by House and Senate negotiators, and the bill approved by the Senate today will go to the president for his signature after it passes the House of Representatives.   

“Agriculture is one of Ohio’s most important industries, contributing more than $100 billion to our economy and putting food on the table for thousands of Ohio workers and people around the world,” said Senator Portman.This Farm Bill will help provide Ohio farmers with the certainty and predictability they deserve and promote economic development and job creation in our rural communities. Of particular importance to Ohio, it includes my amendments to promote rural broadband access and to ensure that Central State University in Wilberforce has access to federal funding under the Farm Bill like other 1890 land-grant institutions. 

“This Farm Bill will also keep Lake Erie clean and our drinking water safe by increasing funding for many conservation programs used by Ohioans to reduce nutrient runoff into waters like Lake Erie. This includes tripling funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) from $100 million to $300 million for the next five years. Finally, it prioritizes funding for addiction treatment for rural areas, another important step forward at the federal level in our effort to overcome the opioid crisis.  I look forward to President Trump signing this legislation into law to support Ohio’s farmers and our agriculture industry.” 

NOTE: The final text of the Farm Bill Conference Report includes two amendments offered by Senator Portman during Senate consideration of the bill in June, including: 

  • An amendment by Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to ensure that Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, can access funding under the Farm Bill that is available for 1890 land-grant institutions.  Central State University is currently unable to receive the same level of federal funding as other historically black colleges, and this amendment would ensure that all 1890 land-grant institutions are treated equal. 
  • An amendment by Portman and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to promote rural community economic development, innovation, and broadband integration.  Specifically, the Portman-Cortez Masto amendment would codify the Council on Rural Community Innovation to help promote policies that use technological innovation to resolve challenges related to health care, law enforcement, housing, and telecommunications. The amendment would also establish a Rural Broadband Integrated Working Group within the Council to identify regulatory barriers to broadband deployment, encourage public private partnerships, and support competition.  

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