Hoeven: Cost-Effective, Bipartisan Five-Year Farm Bill Passed By Senate
Bill Has Strong Provisions for Growers, but More To Do in, House, Conference Committee
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the U.S. Senate has passed a strong bipartisan, five-year farm bill that he and other Agriculture Committee members crafted. The heart of the bill is enhanced crop insurance, which farmers across the country have indicated they want for better risk management. The measure passed 64 to 35.
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act provides more than $23 billion in deficit reduction, streamlines farm programs and ensures that farmers and ranchers continue to have strong support through enhanced crop insurance, Hoeven said.
“We’ve passed a good, strong farm bill that will help producers manage risk, create jobs and reduce the deficit and debt, but we still have work before us,” Hoeven said. “We have enhanced crop insurance for our producers, but there is still more work to be done in the House and the conference committee.”
The farm bill is jobs creator and helps the economy
Hoeven said the legislation provides support for 16 million jobs in the food and agriculture sector, and contributes billions of dollars to the national economy. Agriculture has a positive balance of trade, and produces a financial surplus for the country.
The farm bill is Cost-effective and helps to reduce the deficit and debt
Hoeven also underscored the bill’s cost-effectiveness. “It’s not only cost-effective, but provides real savings to help reduce the deficit and debt,” he said. The 2012 farm bill provides more than $23 billion in savings, $15 billion from farm programs and $6 billion from conservation programs. That represents a 10 percent reduction, he said. At the same time, the portion of funding that the farm bill dedicates to farm programs is a small share of federal expenditures, accounting for $20 billion in a $3.7 trillion budget.
The farm bill provides a strong, market-based safety net for producers
Hoeven also underscored that the farm bill provides the kind of market-based risk management tools farmers and ranchers need. The legislation enhances crop insurance with the inclusion of the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The SCO enables producers to purchase a supplemental policy beyond their individual farm-based policy.
In addition, the bill features a new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program that covers assistance for multiple-year losses. The program works with crop insurance by covering between 11 and 21 percent of a producer’s historic five-year average revenues based on price and yield.
The farm bill continues the no net-cost sugar program
Hoeven worked hard to ensure that the farm bill continues the no net-cost sugar program, which ensures that American producers have a level playing field in the world market. Strong sugar policy adds more than $21 billion to the U.S. economy and helps to ensure low, stable prices for American consumers and businesses. At no cost to the American taxpayer, it creates more than 370,000 direct and indirect jobs in 42 states.
The farm bill strengthens national security
The bill is also important to national security, he said. “Our country doesn’t have to depend for our food supply on other countries, countries that don’t necessarily share our interests or values, and that makes us safer.”
Senator Hoeven will work to improve the farm bill in conference committee
Senator Hoeven said he opposes an amendment adopted Wednesday and will work to change it in the conference committee. The measure ties mandatory conservation programs to crop insurance, a requirement that adds red tape and places an unnecessary burden on farmers who rely on crop insurance to manage risk. Hoeven said farmers already have to comply with conservation requirements when they enroll in commodity programs. Crop insurance should not be tied to the conservation program, Hoeven said.
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently working on its version of a farm bill, which will have to be reconciled in conference committee with the Senate version. The current farm bill expires at the end of September.
THE AGRICULTURE REFORM, FOOD AND JOBS ACT OF 2012 SUMMARY
The new farm bill, which Senator Hoeven helped draft, would:
- Provide more than $23 billion in savings for deficit reduction, $15 million from farm programs and $6 billion from conservation programs.
- Preserve and Enhance Crop Insurance for improved risk management.
- Introduce a new, voluntary Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program to help producers manage losses.
- Reauthorize the no-net cost Sugar Program for five years.
- Continue Livestock Assistance programs through 2017 to help ranchers who lose livestock due to weather-related disasters.
- Establish a strong agriculture-based Energy Title, advanced in an amendment cosponsored by Senator Hoeven, that would provide funding for renewable energy, including cellulosic ethanol and blender pumps.
- Fund Agriculture research programs critical to land grant universities like North Dakota State University.
- Provide assistance to the Devils Lake basin through a voluntary land purchase program.
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