Hoeven: Creation of USDA Undersecretary for Trade Good News for Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Subcommittee, today released the following statement after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Hoeven served as a member of the Senate-House Conference Committee that crafted the final farm bill of 2014, which directed USDA to create the undersecretary of trade position.

“Our farmers and ranchers do a tremendous job producing high-quality food, fuel and fiber to feed the world, which is why agriculture has a positive balance of trade. We appreciate Secretary Perdue’s focus on growing foreign markets for American products, which is vital to the success of our farmers and ranchers,” said Hoeven.

Secretary Perdue sent a letter to Chairman Hoeven detailing the changes and has spoken to the senator several times.

Hoeven has worked to expand access to foreign markets and ensure fair treatment for North Dakota’s agriculture industry. Among other things, his efforts include:

·        Pressing the Administration to reach an agreement with China to open the country to U.S. beef imports.

·        Backing the U.S. Trade Representative in bringing a compliance case against China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under its WTO obligations, China would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of additional U.S. wheat, corn and rice in 2015 alone.

·        Ensuring domestic honey producers receive all of the proceeds collected from settlements for unfair trade practices.

The Secretary also announced the creation of a new Farm Production and Conservation mission, which will include the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), along with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA). This is an effort to provide farmer-friendly service and better access to programs.

Also, Rural Development will now report directly to the Agriculture Secretary.

“As chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working directly with the USDA Secretary to ensure that our Rural Development programs work for rural communities and build a high quality rural America.”

Hoeven plays a key role in shaping the nation’s agriculture policy as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee.