Hoeven Gathers Input from Rural Development Professionals for 2018 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Hearing this week, Senator John Hoeven sought input on the upcoming farm bill from rural development professionals from across the country. Hoeven stressed the importance of programs through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development for ensuring a high quality of life, such as access to water, electric and broadband infrastructure, and in helping rural communities compete in the modern global economy.

“The needs of small businesses throughout rural America remain an important priority for the next farm bill,” said Hoeven. “We are working to find innovative solutions to the challenges our rural communities face. This hearing helped highlight opportunities to improve our investments in the rural economy, and I will continue to meet with our ag producers and rural stakeholders throughout North Dakota to ensure a strong 2018 farm bill.”  

Today’s hearing dovetails with Hoeven’s work as chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee to preserve crop insurance and support agriculture research and rural development through annual funding bills. The senator also recently reintroduced his Move America Act, bipartisan legislation that would complement public funding in infrastructure, including investments in rural America, through tax credits and tax-exempt bonds. Qualified projects include roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, airports, water and sewer facilities and broadband.

Hoeven served as a member of the 2014 farm bill conference committee and continues to meet with producers in North Dakota to gather feedback and outline his priorities for the 2018 farm bill, including:

  • 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 secured $5 million for a pilot program in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill, and funding in the Senate’s FY 2018 Appropriations bill, to improve the fairness of ARC payment calculations, while exploring long-term solutions to the problem for the next farm bill. 
  • 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.
  • Drought Support – Hoeven continues working to secure all possible support for farmers and ranchers to help them weather the drought. The senator is also working to improve the livestock assistance programs in the next farm bill and ensure they work for ranchers when needed most.