Hoeven: Senate Passes Five-Year Farm Bill
Hoeven to Continue Push to Simplify, Clarify Prevented Planting Rules
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has voted to pass the new farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. The new legislation focuses on enhanced crop insurance, the number one priority for North Dakota producers; continues the sugar program, also important for North Dakota farmers; and saves $24 billion to help reduce the deficit.
The comprehensive farm bill moved through the Senate, Hoeven said, because lawmakers had already worked through dozens of amendments when it passed a similar measure last year, and they were able to build on the earlier legislation.
The House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill out of committee with a large bipartisan majority and is expected to bring it to the House floor in June or July. Once passed, the two versions will need to be reconciled in a joint Senate-House conference committee. The current farm bill expires at the end of September.
“For the second year in a row, the Senate has voted by a large, bipartisan majority to pass a strong farm bill for American producers and consumers,” Hoeven said. “It’s strong because we worked hard to make sure it includes enhanced crop insurance, continues the sugar program, provides additional funding for rural flood protection and saves $24 billion dollars to help with the deficit and debt. We also made changes this year that got southern growers onboard, which improves the bill’s chances of passing in the House. Most importantly, it enables our farmers and ranchers to continue to provide American consumers with the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world.”
Hoeven leads effort to address critical conservation compliance mandates, Prevented Plant
The senator also introduced amendments to improve conservation compliance rules for farmers, as well as a measure to simplify and clarify Risk Management Agency (RMA) rules for the Prevented Plant program.
The Prevented Plant amendment he introduced would simplify and clarify the crop insurance rules for prevented planting. The change would ensure that a farmer’s prevented planting claim cannot be dismissed because the RMA decides the farmer’s acreage is unplantable during “normal” weather conditions.
The measures were not included in the farm bill due to limitations on amendments. The senator will continue working to include them either in the conference committee with the House, or in the Appropriations bill for agriculture through his position on the Appropriations Committee.
The farm bill is a jobs creator and helps the economy
Hoeven said the legislation provides support for 16 million jobs in the food and agriculture sector, and contributes billions of dollars to the national economy. Agriculture has a positive balance of trade, and produces a financial surplus for the country.
The farm bill saves money to help reduce the deficit and debt
The 2013 farm bill provides more than $24 billion in savings, more than what is required by sequestration, to help address the nation’s deficit and debt.
The farm bill provides a strong, market-based safety net for producers
Hoeven underscored that the safety net in the farm bill is focused on enhanced crop insurance. The legislation enhances crop insurance with the inclusion of the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The SCO enables producers to purchase a supplemental policy beyond their individual farm-based policy.
In addition, the bill features a new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program that covers assistance for multiple-year losses. The program works with crop insurance by covering between 78 and 88 percent of a producer’s historic five-year average revenues based on price and yield.
The farm bill continues the sugar program
Hoeven worked hard to ensure that the farm bill continues the sugar program, designed to run at no-net cost. The provision ensures that American producers have a level playing field in the world market.
The farm bill strengthens national security
The bill also strengthens national security. Our country doesn’t have to depend for our food supply on other countries, countries that don’t necessarily share our interests or values, and that makes all of us safer, Hoeven said.
The farm bill levels the playing field for corn growers
The final Senate package includes a Hoeven amendment to address low test weight issues for corn growers, enabling them to get actual market price for their crop by extending the 60-day window for settling claims to 120 days.
The farm bill includes rural water management and flood protection
The legislation includes a Klobuchar-Hoeven-Heitkamp amendment that increases funding for rural water management by $100 million for a total of $600 million to help support flood protection in rural communities like the Red River.
THE AGRICULTURE REFORM, FOOD AND JOBS ACT OF 2013 SUMMARY
The farm bill, which Senator Hoeven helped draft
- Provides $24 billion in savings for deficit and debt reduction.
- Preserves and Enhances Crop Insurance for improved risk management.
- Introduces a new, voluntary Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program to help producers manage losses.
- Reauthorize the no-net cost Sugar Program for five years.
- Continues Livestock Disaster Assistance programs through 2018 to help ranchers who lose livestock due to weather-related disasters.
- Includes a strong Energy Title based on last year’s amendment Hoeven coauthored with Senator Conrad. The provision includes support for renewable energy, including cellulosic ethanol and blender pumps.
- Includes a Hoeven amendment to address low test weight issues for corn growers, enabling them to get actual market price for their crop by extending the 60-day window for settling claims to 120 days.
- Supports Agriculture research programs critical to land-grant universities like North Dakota State University, including DEER.
- Includes Advance Market Protection (AMP) programs to help farmers deal with price risk.
- Includes deer research and extension grants may be used for the treatment of parasites and diseases, specifically chronic wasting disease and epizootic hemorrhagic disease of farmed deer and elk and the mapping of the deer genome.
- Includes an amendment Hoeven co-led with Senator Klobuchar to enhance support for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
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