Hoeven Hosts NRCS Acting Chief at ND Association of Soil Conservation Districts Annual Meeting

Senator Outlines Work as Ag Approps Chairman to Support Ag Research, Conservation Programs that Work for Farmers, Ranchers & Sportsmen

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today hosted the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting Chief Leonard Jordan at the annual meeting of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts. The senator brought the acting chief to the state to hear from local stakeholders about ways the agency can improve its conservation programs in a manner that works for farmers, ranchers and sportsmen while supporting good environmental stewardship. This dovetails with meetings Hoeven has held with farmers and ranchers across North Dakota to gather feedback for the 2018 farm bill.

“We’ve worked hard to advance conservation programs that empower farmers and ranchers to make the best use of their land, while maintaining environmental quality and creating opportunities for our sportsmen,” said Hoeven. “I appreciate Chief Jordan for coming to North Dakota to hear about local conservation efforts firsthand and receive feedback on NRCS’ programs and policies. Today’s meeting provided important insights as we continue to seek input from ag producers and local stakeholders on the upcoming farm bill.” 

Hoeven is working through his role as chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee to support research through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that help farmers increase yields, manage their land and water and strengthen conservation practices. This includes research conducted at the ARS facilities in Mandan and Fargo. Hoeven held a meeting at the Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan earlier this year to review its research on soil health and receive input on priorities for the next farm bill.

As part of these efforts, Hoeven worked to secure the following priorities in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill:

  • Agriculture Research – provides $2.55 billion to support agriculture research conducted by ARS and NIFA. The bill would also maintain funding for land-grant universities and prevent proposed terminations of extramural research projects and laboratory closures.
  • State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Program (SAFE) – includes language encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to allocate a greater number of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to programs like SAFE, which allow producers to create habitat that is beneficial for wildlife. This program benefits both farmers and sportsmen because it allows farmers to optimize CRP acreage to encourage wildlife populations.
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – maintains funding for this voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to help plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.