Hoeven Secures Additional Support in Ag Funding Legislation to Help Drought Response

As Chairman of Ag Appropriations, Senator Worked to Protect Farm Safety Net, Invest in Ag Research & Rural Development

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today secured additional support in the Senate’s agriculture funding legislation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to aide farmers and ranchers facing severe drought. The provisions Hoeven included in the bill direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to:

  • Make funding available for the transportation of hay and livestock during drought conditions under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish program (ELAP).
  • Report on any backlog in drought relief programs.
  • Consider making additional conservation acres available for emergency grazing and haying.
  • Allocate additional staff and resources to drought stricken areas.

“We worked hard to maintain our agriculture budget and ensure that this legislation supports our farmers, ranchers and rural communities, especially in the face of such severe natural disasters,” said Hoeven. “This legislation makes additional support available to areas struggling with drought, including funding to help move hay and livestock. In addition, we maintained a robust safety net, while also making strong investments in farm service programs, agricultural research and rural development programs to help make our agricultural communities strong and vibrant.”

As chairman, Hoeven also worked to support vital programs for agriculture producers and rural communities, including:

Support for Ag Producers – Rejects proposed cuts to crop insurance and other farm bill programs. The bill also:

  • Prohibits the closure of Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices.
  • Includes funding to continue Hoeven’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) pilot program to allow for an alternate calculation method for crop payments when National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) data is insufficient.
  • Maintains funding for the Hoeven Water Bank initiative, which provides compensation for farmers and landowners for flooded land through 10-year, voluntary conservation agreements.

Agriculture Research – $2.55 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), including:

  • $375 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
  • Maintains formula research funding for land-grant universities at the FY2017 level. 
  • Prevents proposed extramural research project terminations and laboratory closures.

Rural Development – Maintains FY2017 funding levels for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, including:

  • Rural Water and Waste Programs – $1.25 billion for loans, $394 million for grants and $18 million for the Circuit Rider program.
  • $6.94 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans.
  • $30 million for broadband grants.