Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Secure Agriculture Assistance, Ensure Conservation Programs are Farmer-Friendly

Senator Addresses Soil Conservation Annual Meeting

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today addressed the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation District’s annual meeting, where he outlined his work to secure disaster and trade assistance for producers as well as his efforts to ensure the conservation title under the 2018 Farm Bill is implemented in a farmer-friendly way.

Trade and Disaster Assistance

Hoeven has been working as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee to support producers as they weather the challenges of natural disasters and trade uncertainty. To this end, Hoeven has sought to:

  • Secure a disaster designation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 47 North Dakota counties.
  • Provide disaster funding through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) to help cover crop losses.
    • Hoeven recently made the case to USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey to provide assistance to sugar growers who were unable to harvest their crop due to severe weather.
  • Secure additional Market Facilitation Program payments and ensure the November tranche was sent out as early as possible.
    • Hoeven ensured MFP included coverage for all Title I crops, including soybeans, wheat, corn, canola and others.
  • Increase access to reliable and affordable propane supplies to assist with drying grain and providing heat for livestock.

“Farmers need real help right now as they work to maintain their operations in the face of adverse weather and trade uncertainty. Assistance under MFP and WHIP+ offer vital support, and we are working on every issue, from propane shortages to approving trade deals like USMCA, to get our producers through these difficult times,” Hoeven said.

Farm Bill Implementation & Conservation Programs

Hoeven continues his efforts with the USDA to improve the programs that support producers in maintaining their land, stressing the central role of voluntary partnerships, like those under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

“Voluntary partnerships are the foundation of successful conservation,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we worked to make the 2018 Farm Bill more farmer-friendly and are advancing this priority as the law is implemented. We will continue to engage with our producers and the USDA to ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to maintain the quality of their land and water, without imposing unworkable mandates and costly regulations.”

Hoeven, who served on the farm bill conference committee, worked to ensure the 2018 Farm Bill: 

  • Improves the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) wetlands determination process by requiring a site visit for participants who appeal their decision. 
  • Maintains EQIP and CSP, voluntary working lands programs that provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices on their land.
    • The NRCS is currently accepting public comment on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill’s changes to CSP. Hoeven encourages producers to provide input to help ensure the best outcomes for farmers and ranchers.
  • Expands acreage under CRP, which allows farmers to set aside environmentally sensitive land and encourage plant species that improve soil health in exchange for yearly rental payments.
    • The USDA plans to hold a general signup for CRP in December, the first since 2015.
  • Ensures funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which leverages private investment to design and implement voluntary conservation practices.
  • Supports agriculture research, including at North Dakota State University and the USDA Northern Grain Plains Research Lab in Mandan, which conduct research on innovative conservation practices for preserving and reclaiming land and water.