The National Grocers Association (NGA), a national trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, is reacting positively to the House’s vote to move the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, to a conference committee.
Lawmakers seek to reach on compromise on two different versions of the bill. In late June, the Senate passed its version with a bipartisan vote of 86-11. The $867 billion bill did not include the controversial work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients that were included in the House version of the bill, which was passed a few days earlier.
“The House today voted to move the Farm Bill one step closer to the finish line and provide certainty to the various stakeholders within the food and agriculture supply chain, including independent grocers,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA EVP of advocacy, public relations and member services, on July 18. “We look forward to working with conferees from both chambers to get a Farm Bill done that preserves and strengthens the public-private partnership of SNAP while also allowing independent grocers to do what they do best by providing high quality food products and service to their communities.”
“We are pleased to see the House move ahead on the Farm Bill,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow in a joint statement. “In order to be successful in passing a final bill, the conference committee must put politics aside and focus on the needs of our farmers, families and rural communities. We are eager to go to conference, so we can move quickly to provide certainty for American farmers and families. Rural America is counting on us to get this right.”
NGA says its top legislative priorities for this year’s Farm Bill include protections for private SNAP retailer sales data; preservation of consumer choice in SNAP; prohibition of any new fees or excessive reporting mandates; and an expanded Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program.