Hoeven Continues Efforts to Support Farmers, Create New Opportunities for North Dakota Ag Industry

Senator Working to Support Value-Added Companies, Provide Regulatory Relief and Capital for Farmers

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined state, local and industry leaders to dedicate the new $30 million expansion of AGT Foods and Ingredients’ facility in Minot. AGT’s 33,000 sq. ft. expansion adds 20 additional jobs in the community and will further support the export of local pulse crops, including lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas, to countries around the globe. AGT is one of the world’s leading suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and food ingredients with locations in over 40 countries.

“Value-added companies like AGT and the farmers who supply them are vital to North Dakota’s economy,” Hoeven said. “AGT’s expansion will help provide an expanded market for North Dakota farmers producing pulse crops which will help them, particularly during this time of low commodity prices.

“Given that our farmers face tough times right now, it’s important that we help them in other ways as well,” Hoeven continued. “That’s why it’s so important that we ensure that those farmers have adequate capital and reliable access to inputs like anhydrous fertilizer. We have recently introduced legislation to help farmers maintain their operations by significantly raising the FSA loan guarantees. At the same time, we’re working to prevent OSHA from implementing a regulation that threatened the supply of anhydrous ammonia and would have greatly increased costs for producers. We stopped that rule from taking effect for the 2016 planting season, and now, we have legislation moving that will prevent its implementation next planting season as well.”

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Hoeven works to support federal programs that provide strong risk management tools for farmers and help develop new uses and markets for local crops, such as value-added goods like the ones produced by AGT and other bio-based products, which create opportunities for investment in North Dakota’s agriculture industry.

Hoeven also continues his efforts to support farmers in the face of low commodity prices. To this end, the senator is working to:

? Help Ag Producers Maintain their Operations – Hoeven has introduced the Capital for Farmers and Ranchers Act with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The legislation:
• Helps farmers weather low commodity prices by increasing the maximum loan amount that an individual farmer or rancher is able to receive under the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) loan and loan guarantee programs.
• Ensures farmers and ranchers have access to enough capital to continue their operations when revenue is limited. For example, it increases the FSA loan guarantee amount, which will now cover up to $2.5 million, up from $1.39 million, and doubles the amount on Direct Operating and Direct Farm Ownership Loans from $300,000 to $600,000.

? Ensure Access to Affordable Fertilizer –
• Hoeven passed legislation preventing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from implementing a regulation in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 that threatened to limit the supply of anhydrous ammonia, a nitrogen fertilizer that is critically important to producers. The rule would have forced many retailers to stop selling the fertilizer, imposing increased costs and hardship for farmers.
• The senator has included similar language in the FY2017 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill to prevent the rule’s implementation next year as well.

Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) –
• Preserved the general ag exemption under the Clean Water Act for farmers/ ranchers by securing a provision in the FY2016 funding bill to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing the WOTUS Interpretive Rule.
• As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven included language in the FY2017 Interior and Environment funding bill to prevent the implementation of the WOTUS rule in FY2017.
• Called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to comply with the nationwide stay on implementing the WOTUS rule by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.