Hoeven Presses Agriculture Secretary Nominee to Follow Through on Ag Assistance & Quality Loss Program

Senator Also Urges Vilsack to Safeguard CCC Funding for Farm Bill Programs, Improve Market Competition and Pricing for Livestock Producers

WASHINGTON – During a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven urged Thomas Vilsack, the nominee to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to continue advancing efforts initiated under the Trump administration to help farmers and ranchers weather the current challenges they face until market conditions improve. Hoeven and Vilsack served together as governors, and also worked together when Vilsack previously served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary. Specifically, Hoeven pressed Vilsack to: 

  • Deliver the $13 billion in agriculture assistance appropriated by Congress in the year-end legislation and finish distributing the remaining funds under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
  • Follow through on the recently-finalized Quality Loss Assistance (QLA) program that Hoeven advanced to help producers recover from quality losses due to natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.
    • The senator also secured an additional $1.5 billion for the Wildfire, Hurricane and Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) and QLA in Fiscal Year 2021 Ag Appropriations to ensure program funding is sufficient to meet demand from producers.
  • Safeguard Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding for the USDA to administer the programs required by the Farm Bill, including crop insurance, Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
    • Hoeven also stressed that any new carbon reduction programs, like a carbon bank, needs to be farmer-friendly and benefit producers directly.
  • Improve competition and price transparency in livestock markets.

“The COVID-19 assistance and quality loss coverage that we secured are vital supports for our farmers and ranchers, helping producers overcome the impacts of this public health emergency and recover from natural disasters in recent years,” Hoeven said. “These programs need to keep moving forward, and I appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s commitment to distribute these funds as directed by Congress. At the same time, I stressed the key role of the CCC in supporting Farm Bill programs, as well as the need for reforms in livestock markets. Any new uses of CCC funding cannot come at the expense of our producers, and our ranchers deserve a fair price for the high-quality products they provide.” 

Following the hearing, Hoeven joined his fellow Agriculture Committee members in voting to approve Vilsack’s nomination, which now awaits consideration by the full Senate.