Hoeven Discusses Farm Bill Priorities with Ag Leaders

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today met with a broad range of North Dakota agriculture group leaders to gather input for the next farm bill, which Congress will work to reauthorize in 2012. Hoeven called today’s meeting because the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, on which he serves, will take up the work on the Farm Bill later this month. Hoeven also serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Agriculture. 

Prior to the roundtable meeting, the senator also toured the North Dakota State University Agriculture Experiment Station Research Greenhouse Complex, a state-of-the-art agricultural research facility that Hoeven made a number one agriculture priority as governor. The facility is widely regarded as one of the premier agriculture research facilities in the nation, carrying out advanced research in plant breeding, genetics, horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, plant nutrition, and associated disciplines. 

At the subsequent forum, Hoeven highlighted the importance of improving the safety net for farmers with a strong crop insurance program as the centerpiece. A strong crop insurance program is a key to helping producers manage risk and also a critical component of a cost-effective long-term strategy for U.S. agriculture. 

“Our number one priority for farm bill reauthorization is to preserve and strengthen our farmers’ safety net, with a key focus on a strengthening the crop insurance program,” Hoeven said. “We are also working to improve and build on crop insurance with new, cost-effective programs that will keep our farmers going through bad markets and weather. North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers have weathered a range of difficulties over the decades, and I want to see that they can continue to withstand the unforeseeable challenges inherent in their work so that Americans continue to have access to a stable, safe, and affordable food supply.” 

“We have a strong bipartisan Senate Agriculture Committee that recognizes the fact that our farmers account for almost one-sixth of U.S. jobs and economic activity,” Hoeven said. “As the producers I met with today can attest, agriculture policy should be about food security and working together to grow our rural economies. I look forward to taking their ideas to the Senate Agriculture Committee as I work with other agriculture supporters to reauthorize and improve the farm bill.” 

Meeting with the senator today at the new NDSU greenhouse were North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, NDSU President Dean Bresciani, NDSU Vice President of Agriculture Ken Grafton, National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken, North Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Tom Lilja, North Dakota Grain Growers Association Executive Director Dan Wogsland, North Dakota Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Sandy Clark, North Dakota Farmers Union Vice President Woody Barth, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Jeff Hamre, Northern Canola Growers Association President Ryan Pederson, and Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association Executive Director Nick Sinner. 

Congressman Rick Berg and a representative from the office of Senator Kent Conrad also attended today’s meeting.