Hoeven Addresses ND Corn Growers' 35th Anniversary Celebration
Senator Discusses Work to Improve Disaster Aid Implementation, Ensure Access to Reliable Transportation Services
MAPLETON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today addressed the North Dakota Corn Growers Association’s 35th anniversary celebration, where he congratulated the group and discussed his ongoing efforts to support the continued success of the state and nation’s farmers and ranchers. His efforts include:
- Providing disaster relief to help producers recover from last year’s historic drought.
- Hoeven recently secured improvements to the row crop disaster assistance that he funded in September.
- The senator worked with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to resolve an issue where some producers with 2020 prevent plant claims had those losses inadvertently excluded from their pre-filled Emergency Relief Program (ERP) application.
- As a result of Hoeven’s efforts, FSA is issuing corrected applications to affected producers this month.
- Working to ensure reliable transportation services for agriculture producers and other shippers.
“Congratulations to the North Dakota Corn Growers Association on 35 years of advocating on behalf of our state’s corn farmers,” said Hoeven. “Our farmers and ranchers have faced real challenges in recent years, and we are working to provide the support they need to continue producing the high-quality, affordable food supply that Americans rely on every day. That’s why we worked to both secure disaster aid and ensure its implementation works for our producers. We recently fixed the prevent plant issue impacting some ERP applications, and we are continuing our efforts to resolve the problems with AGI and payment limits. At the same time, our farmers and ranchers need to be able to get their products to market, and we will continue pressing the STB and rail companies to address the backlog before fall harvest.”
Securing Agriculture Disaster Assistance
In September, Hoeven secured $10 billion in agriculture disaster aid, including $750 million for livestock producers. The senator then repeatedly pressed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to get the assistance to producers as soon as possible, with the aid currently being distributed under the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).
USDA began sending out ELRP phase-one assistance in February, with payments set at 75% of producers’ 2021 Livestock Forage Program (LFP) payment. Phase two will begin later this year.
USDA also began sending pre-filled applications for ERP phase one to producers in May, with payments having started last month. To date, North Dakota producers have received $928 million in ERP assistance. Details will be released later this year for ERP phase two, which will compensate producers not paid under the first phase for their eligible losses.
Improving ERP’s Implementation
After hearing concerns from producers, Hoeven repeatedly raised the prevent plant issue with USDA officials, including Secretary Vilsack, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. The senator:
- Held a meeting with Bonnie, Ducheneaux and North Dakota producers to outline the issue and stress the importance of ensuring ERP works for farmers and ranchers and effectively helps them offset their losses.
- Spoke with Ducheneaux again last week to drive home the importance of correcting the issue prior to the beginning of ERP phase 2.
- Joined his colleagues in pressing Vilsack to resolve issues with the implementation of ERP.
In addition, Hoeven continues to urge USDA officials to resolve issues regarding the adjusted gross income (AGI) calculation used to determine payment limit eligibility.
Resolving Transportation Delays
At the same time, Hoeven is advancing efforts to ensure North Dakota shippers, including farmers and ranchers, have access to reliable rail and ocean shipping services. The senator:
- Sponsored the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, bipartisan legislation signed into law in June to update federal regulations for the global shipping industry and help American producers export their products.
- As one of the four lead sponsors of the bipartisan legislation, Hoeven, along with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), advanced the bill through the Senate in March, followed by the House of Representatives passing the bill in June.
- Has been pressing both the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and rail companies to resolve ongoing rail service disruptions before the fall harvest.
- Hoeven recently held meetings withSTB Vice Chairman Robert Primus, STB Member Patrick Fuchs and BNSF CEO Katie Farmer to review the public accountability requirements the STB has placed on Class I railroads and discuss progress toward restoring reliable rail service in North Dakota.
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