Hoeven Holds Roundtable with Western North Dakota Livestock, Ag Groups on Livestock Disaster Assistance

Senator Highlights Work to Pass Strong, Long-Term Farm Bill

HETTINGER, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, today convened a meeting of livestock producers and western North Dakota agriculture groups to highlight portions of the farm bill that will help ranchers who suffered losses during the October blizzard in the Dakotas. The senator is working to get agreement from conferees so that Congress can pass a farm bill a strong, long-term farm bill by the end of this year or January.

“This year’s blizzard in the Dakotas made it clear to everyone in the agriculture world how important a strong livestock disaster assistance program is to our ranchers,” said Hoeven. “We’re working to ensure that the farm bill includes strong provisions to provide our ranchers with tools to help them recover following the devastating storm earlier this year.”

Hoeven highlighted portions of the farm bill that will help livestock producers who suffered losses during the October blizzard in the Dakotas.

  • Livestock Disaster Assistance: Both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill renew the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) as well as provide coverage retroactively beginning in Fiscal Year 2012. Hoeven is working to include the House version of the LIP, which pays ranchers on the same percentage of their losses as the 2008 Farm Bill: 75 percent as opposed to 65 percent in the Senate bill. He is also working to ensure that adverse weather-related disease losses, including pneumonia, are covered by LIP.

“We’re doing all we can to find agreement on a farm bill so we can get it passed as soon as possible,” said Hoeven. “Our number one priority is to pass a strong, long-term farm bill that will provide producers with the certainty they need to run their businesses. Our farmers and ranchers provide us with the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world and good farm policy benefits every single American.”

Hoeven also outlined additional farm bill priorities important to western North Dakota, including:

  • Enhanced Crop Insurance: The farm bill includes a strong safety net for producers. Hoeven underscored that the safety net in the farm bill is focused on enhanced crop insurance. 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.
  • Revenue Loss Protection: 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 78 and 88 percent of a producer’s historic five-year average revenues based on price and yield.
  • Conservation: Farmers and ranchers have a vested interest in good stewardship of their land, and both the Senate and House versions of the bill include good conservation tools. Conservation compliance is tied to participation in the farm program, but it should not be tied to crop insurance.
  • Ag Research: The farm bill needs 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.
  • State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Program (SAFE): The senator touted a part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) called SAFE, which allows producers to create habitat that is beneficial for wildlife. This could be a very good program for both farmers and sportsmen because it will allow farmers to optimize CRP acreage to encourage wildlife populations. States like North Dakota have lost CRP acreage, which has a reduced habitat for a number of sports species like deer and pheasants. Combined with North Dakota’s PLOTS and Coverlocks programs, which make private lands available to hunters, the SAFE program can create more habitats to increase wildlife populations and hunting opportunities.

Organizations invited to the meeting include: the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers, North Dakota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Barley Council, North Dakota Grain Growers, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Farm Bureau, Little Missouri Grazing Association, Horse Creek Grazing Association, McKenzie County Grazing Association, Sheyenne Valley Grazing Association, Grand River Coop Grazing Association and Grand River Grazing Association.