Hoeven: Senate Agrees To Go To Conference on Farm Bill

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has agreed to take its farm bill to conference committee and urged the House, which passed its version last week, to do the same. Hoeven, a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, has worked in the past two sessions to pass a long-term farm bill.

“This is a big step forward for the farm bill,” Hoeven said. “The Senate has agreed to go to conference; now we just need the House to join us to get it done.”

The senator spoke on the Senate floor today to push for the prompt formation of a conference committee to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the bill so that Congress can pass a strong, long-term farm bill before the current extension expires on September 30. He said that would benefit not only for the nation’s farmers and ranchers, but also for the American people.

“We need to act on the farm bill, and we need to act now,” Hoeven. “We in the senate have passed a strong farm bill. It saves $24 billion to help reduce our debt and our deficit. It streamlines our farm programs to make them more efficient and more usable for our farmers and our ranchers and it ensures our farmers and ranchers continue to have the good risk-management tools they need to manage their operations, particularly enhanced crop insurance which is so important.

“This really is about serving the American people and it is about making sure that we continue to have the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. And that means every single American benefits from good farm policy. And we need to move on this. We need to act. The current farm bill expires September 30, and we’re already operating under a one-year extension.”

Hoeven pointed out that agriculture supports 16 million jobs and contributes billions of dollars to the national economy. This year, U.S. agriculture exports are expected to hit an all-time high of nearly $140 billion and produce a surplus of nearly $30 billion. Agriculture has produced a favorable balance of trade every year since 1970.

“It’s about fuel and fiber, and it is about national security. We do not have to depend on other countries for a food supply because our farmers and ranchers produce it right here at home. So it really is making sure that we have a food supply that’s dependable, nutritious – the highest quality, lowest cost food in the world available to us right here.”