December 11, 2018

Manchin Votes To Pass Bipartisan Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted to pass the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes agriculture, nutrition and forestry programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Senator Manchin made sure to include top West Virginia priorities in the Farm Bill including funding to fight the opioid epidemic, broadband expansion and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.

“The funding and program authorization this bipartisan legislation provides will make a huge difference in our state and improve the lives of thousands of West Virginians. This legislation expands the USDA’s Community Facilities Grant Program and the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program that prioritize funding for solutions in rural communities, like many in West Virginia. This bipartisan legislation will help West Virginia fight the opioid epidemic, create jobs and expand broadband for thousands of West Virginians,” Senator Manchin said.

Below are some of the West Virginia priorities Senator Manchin secured in the bill:

  • Includes a provision creating a Broadband Grant Program, which prioritizes unserved communities, and increases the authorization for this provision from $25 million to $350 million annually.
  • Targets the opioid crisis by expanding USDA Rural Development investments in telemedicine and community treatment facilities.
  • Includes provisions from Senator Manchin’s bill, the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017.
  • Triples mandatory funding and increases Critical Conservation Area funding pools to 50% within the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
  • Small Towns and Rural Communities: The 2018 Farm Bill expands high-speed internet in rural communities, takes important steps to fight the opioid crisis by investing in telemedicine and essential community facilities that can provide critical treatment options for communities suffering from opioid addiction.

In June, Senator Manchin sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry to urge them to include important funding and programs that help West Virginians. Read that letter here.