Hoeven Gathers Input from North Dakota Producers at Farm Bill Roundtable
Senator Meets with FMWF Chamber’s Agribusiness Working Group
FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today held a roundtable with the Fargo-Moorhead/West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Agribusiness Committee and representatives from commodity groups to gather input for the next farm bill.
“Agriculture is North Dakota’s top industry and a real economic driver for our state,” said Hoeven. “Good farm policy benefits every American, every day. That’s why we appreciate this opportunity to hear directly from North Dakota producers and our agriculture industry about their priorities so that we can get the best possible farm bill put in place.”
Hoeven outlined the following provisions he is working to include in the farm bill:
- Strong Crop Insurance – The senator is working to strengthen and prevent cuts to the crop insurance program, which is the primary risk management tool for many producers.
- Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) – Hoeven is working to strengthen both programs and provide additional flexibility. The senator secured funding for a pilot program in both Fiscal Year 2017 and 2018 to improve the fairness of ARC payment calculations, while exploring long-term solutions to the problem for the next farm bill. USDA implemented Hoeven’s pilot program in January for 14 counties in seven states, including Divide and Sheridan counties in North Dakota.
- Sugar Program – The senator said he will work to extend the sugar program in a bipartisan manner, ensuring that American producers have a level playing field in the world sugar market.
- Agriculture Research – Hoeven will work to include strong support for agricultural research, like the work done at North Dakota State University and the North Dakota Extension Service, to enhance crop genetics and production.
- Rural Development – The senator is advancing efforts to invest in rural infrastructure, including water, electric and broadband services, which will help rural communities and residents compete in the global economy.
- Capital for Farmers and Ranchers – Hoeven is working to include his Capital for Farmers and Ranchers Act, to provide farmers with better access to capital. The bill would increase the Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan guarantee amount from $1.39 million to $2.5 million and double the amount of direct loans from $300,000 to $600,000 for both farm operating loans and farm ownership loans.
- Addressing Substance Abuse in Rural Communities – Hoeven is working to include legislation he is sponsoring with Senator Joe Donnelly to help rural communities combat the opioid abuse epidemic. The legislation directs the USDA Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program to give priority to applicants in rural communities that would use the grants for substance abuse education, treatment, and prevention efforts.
In addition, the senator highlighted recent legislative provisions to provide regulatory relief for farmers and ranchers:
- Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS) –Hoeven worked through the Appropriations Committee to defund the regulation in 2016 and 2017, and the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposal to roll back the regulation.
- Livestock Emissions – Hoeven helped introduce and pass the FARM Act, which protects farmers and ranchers from being required to measure methane emissions from livestock in pastures. The legislation was passed as part of the FY2018 funding legislation and ensures that agriculture producers will be permanently exempt from burdensome EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions.
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) – The senator also passed legislation to delay the ELD requirement for livestock haulers through September 30. Hoeven continues his efforts to find a permanent solution that maintains the safe, efficient and humane transportation of livestock.
Hoeven also highlighted his work to ensure free and fair trade for the nation’s producers. The senator has repeatedly pressed the Administration, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to help keep markets open for farmers and ranchers and prevent retaliatory tariffs.
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