Key lawmakers announced today they’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill, drawing praise from Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) as farmers and ranchers plan for 2019.

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill. We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible,” said House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Members Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in a statement.

Farmers and ranchers desperately need a farm bill, TFB stressed, and the announced agreement is principle represents great progress.

“We’re hopeful the new farm bill will be completed before the end of the year,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “We encourage both houses of Congress to approve this bill once language is finalized. Now is the time to get it done.”

The 2014 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30. Funding for key components of the farm bill, however, continue until the end of this year.

“Continued access to risk management tools, assistance in foreign market development and conservation and environmental stewardship programs within the legislation are especially important for farmers and ranchers. Additionally, the bill continues to help low-income children, families, seniors and military veterans access the high-quality foods produced by farm families,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said.

Adams notes the four key lawmakers continue to work on the actual legislative text. The language must also be scored at the Congressional Budget Office in order to receive the costs of measures included in the farm bill.

“We’re feeling very positive. Farmers and ranchers need certainty, especially as they’re planning for the 2019 growing season,” TFB National Legislative Director Laramie Adams said. “We have to make sure farmers and ranchers across Texas and across the country are given the tools they need to survive. Having a deal in principle gives them more of the certainty they deserve.”

The farm bill emerging from the conference committee is good news for farmers and ranchers amid a prolonged downturn in the agricultural economy.

“We are very proud of Chairman Conaway, especially being from Texas. He has listened to farmers and ranchers across Texas and the United States. He and his staff have been wonderful to work with, as well as other key agricultural leaders in D.C.,” Adams said. “We are proud all four principals have come together on this handshake deal.”