Hoeven Hosts USDA Under Secretary to Outline Farm Bill Implementation

Senator Presses USDA to Work with Producers to Craft Final Program Rules

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today hosted Michael Scuse, USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, at a farm bill roundtable with state and local officials and agriculture groups. Hoeven invited Scuse to North Dakota to meet with North Dakota producers and pressed USDA to work with the state’s farmers and ranchers as they finalize rules for farm bill programs. Hoeven convened the roundtable to help keep North Dakota farmers and ranchers included in the implementation process and informed about farm bill resources, like a new safety net decision aid tool developed by North Dakota State University (NDSU).

“We’re working to ensure that farm bill programs are implemented in an effective and efficient way and that it includes input from our farmers and ranchers,” said Hoeven. “This roundtable provides Under Secretary Scuse with the opportunity to hear directly from North Dakota producers as USDA works to implement the farm bill. Our farmers and ranchers do a tremendous job producing food, fuel and fiber for our nation, and we need to ensure that they have the information and support they need to run their operations. ”

As Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Scuse oversees the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Hoeven asked Scuse to provide timelines and information about USDA’s plans to:

  • Finalize Safety Net Programs and producer sign-ups.
  • Provide Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) for all commodities and counties. SCO is designed to help strengthen and expand insurance coverage options for producers, enabling them to purchase a supplemental policy beyond their individual farm-based policy and protecting them from market volatility. In July, RMA announced the availability of SCO for spring and durum wheat in the 2015 crop year. Hoeven has been pressing USDA for timely implementation of SCO for all insurable crops in all counties in order to provide North Dakota farmers with important risk management tools.
  • Incorporate input from producers for farm bill programs especially conservation compliance requirements. Though the farm bill ties conservation compliance to crop insurance, Hoeven worked to include his proposal to make sure this new requirement is not retroactive, as well as report language encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to use an acre-for-acre ration for wetland mitigation and funding to help farmers with mitigation.

NDSU Extension Farm and Farm Resource Specialist Andy Swenson also presented a new tool developed to assist producers in determining which safety net program to enroll in. The decision aid tool uses previous crop yields and other factors in helping farmers electing their commodity title programs.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, Hoeven is working to ensure that USDA implements the farm bill in a timely manner and includes producer input as it finalizes programs. The senator served on the Senate-House Conference Committee that negotiated the final version of the new five-year farm bill.