Hoeven Convenes Agriculture Appropriations Committee Hearing with USDA Secretary Perdue

Senator Continues to Press for Resolution of Trade Agreements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today convened a hearing with Sonny Perdue, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he again pressed for the quick resolution of the administration’s trade negotiations as well as additional commodity purchases to aid farmers and ranchers.

Access to Foreign Markets & Commodity Purchases

“Our farmers and ranchers need access to foreign markets, so getting the USMCA through Congress, wrapping up our negotiations with China and launching trade talks with Japan and other nations are top priorities,” Hoeven said. “Secretary Perdue indicated that they are close to getting agreements, and we’re working with the administration to make sure that happens as soon as possible. In the meantime, we need more commodity purchases, like China’s recent purchases of soybeans and corn. That will provide greater certainty for agriculture producers and help boost farm income in this difficult time.”

Hoeven continues working with the administration, including President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Perdue and Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council and the president’s chief economic advisor, to help expand and open markets for agriculture producers. His efforts include: 

  • Developing a strategy to move the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) through both the U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
  • Urging the administration to reach a resolution on Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.
  • Pressing the administration to advance trade negotiations with China as well as trade negotiations that the administration is undertaking with Japan.
  • Encouraging additional commodity sales and the opening of new markets while negotiations continue.

USDA Farm Programs

Hoeven also outlined to Perdue the need for a budget that reflects the difficult times in farm country and discussed ongoing work to address the challenges of low commodity prices and natural disasters.

“There’s no question that agriculture producers are facing tough times right now,” said Hoeven. “While we support many aspects of the President’s budget, the burden of balancing our budget should not be on the backs of our farmers and ranchers. This is the exact reason why we have supported a counter-cyclical approach, where we save money in good times and can help our farmers when they need us most. As chairman, I am committed to ensuring our FY2020 funding legislation provides strong support for the programs that will best bolster the ag economy and help producers maintain their operations.”

Hoeven stressed the need for effective and reliable risk management tools for farmers and ranchers and outlined to Perdue his priorities for FY2020, including:

  • Maintaining strong crop insurance and counter-cyclical programs like the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
  • Ensuring agriculture producers can access capital by fully funding the farm direct and guaranteed and emergency loans.
  • Maintaining funding for agriculture research, which helps improve yields, improves resistance to pests and disease and makes the nation more internationally competitive.
  • Investing in USDA’s Rural Development efforts, including broadband deployment, to strengthen rural communities and expand economic opportunities.