Hoeven Statement on First Farm Bill Conference Committee Meeting
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today released the following statement after taking part in the first meeting of the Senate-House farm bill conference committee.
“Our producers need the certainty that comes with the passage of a five-year farm bill,” Hoeven said. “The work we do in this conference committee will impact our entire nation. Good farm policy benefits every American, every day, and that’s why we need to work in a timely fashion to pass a strong farm bill into law. I look forward to working with my colleagues to maintain the priorities we secured in the Senate’s farm bill, while also incorporating the strengths from the House’s version.”
Hoeven was named to the conference committee as he is the fourth highest ranking majority member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee. During today’s meeting, the senator outlined the following priorities he is working to include in the final version of the farm bill:
- Maintaining Crop Insurance: Both the Senate and House farm bills maintain strong crop insurance policy.
- Improving Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) & Price Loss Coverage (PLC): Hoeven is working to build on strengths from both the Senate and House bills. That includes utilizing Hoeven’s pilot program to improve the flexibility and fairness of ARC payments, which he included in the Senate bill, as well as improvements to PLC from the House bill.
- Sugar Policy: The Senate and House farm bills maintain strong sugar policy.
- Improvements to CRP and Wetland Exemptions: Both Senate and House farm bills make changes to the Conservation Reserve Program and contain language related to defining minimal effects exemptions and mitigation banking.
- FSA Guaranteed and Direct Loans: The senator is working to maintain FSA loan increases during conference. The Senate bill increases Direct Farm Operating loans to $400,000 from $300,000; Direct Farm Ownership loans to $600,000 from $300,000; and Guaranteed Farm Operating and Ownership loans to $1,750,000 from $1,399,000.
- Trade/Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD): Both bills consolidate and maintain funding for trade programs.
- Ag Research: Both the Senate and House farm bills maintain strong land-grant formula research funding. The Senate version also increases funding for other USDA research programs. For example, the authorization for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative is increased from $10 million to $15 million, which benefits research conducted at North Dakota State University.
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