The 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee is holding its first public meeting today in Washington and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) has notified committee members of key provisions important to the seed industry within the legislation. In a recent letter to Conferees, ASTA highlighted priorities within the Conservation, Trade, Research, Horticulture and Crop Insurance titles.
ASTA CEO Andy LaVigne says among priorities in the Conservation title is concern about a provision in the House version that would limit the cost share for seed in the Conservation Reserve Program to 25-percent. “In order to promote transparency in conservation seed mix formulations, ASTA suggests conference report language directing states to form standing Seed Subcommittees under the State Technical Committees,” says LaVigne.
In addition, related to conservation but under the Crop Insurance title, ASTA supports language in the Senate bill which amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to clarify conditions for voluntary conservation practices, including cover crops.
In the Trade title, ASTA supports language in both versions that would merge the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC), and the Emerging Markets Program (EMP) and provide funding for the merged programs at or above current levels.
LaVigne says ASTA is also supporting new authorization of $200 million in mandatory funds for research, which is included in the Senate bill but not the House, and specific language in the Horticulture title to amend the Plant Variety Protection Act to include asexually propagated materials such as flowers. as well as language in the House Farm Bill which creates a definition for biostimulants.
LaVigne talks about ASTA priorities and his thoughts on when a final bill will be completed in this interview:
Interview with ASTA CEO Andy LaVigne on Farm Bill priorities