Hoeven Urges Colleagues on Senate Floor to Come Together on Farm Bill Amendments

Senator Also Working to Gain Support from Southern Producers

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven spoke on the Senate floor Thursday, urging lawmakers to work together in a bipartisan way to get consensus on the many amendments that have been submitted on the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, the new farm bill that he and members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee crafted.

Along with Senators Kent Conrad and Max Baucus of Montana, Hoeven is also working with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss and southern growers to add a counter-cyclical safety net to the bill to secure broad support for the final legislation. The amendment Hoeven, Conrad, Baucus and Chambliss are introducing implements a program similar to the one already in place in the current farm bill.

“If we are going to get a farm bill, we’ve got to find a way to work through these amendments and come to agreement,” Hoeven said. “We have to come together in a bipartisan way, work together and come up with an agreement so that we can have a reasonable number of amendments brought forward, vote on those amendments and pass a farm bill,” the senator said. “We absolutely should be able to get that done because this bill accomplishes some very important things for our country.”

Hoeven said the new farm bill saves money to address the nation’s deficit and debt, provides a strong farm program for American farmers and ranchers, benefits American consumers and strengthens national security.

He said farmers and ranchers are doing their part to reduce the deficit. “First, the farm bill saves $23.6 billion to help with the deficit and debt, and at the same time, provides a strong farm program. That’s important not only for our farmers and ranchers but for every American,” he said. “We have the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the history of the world. Every American benefits from this.”

Hoeven also pointed out how a strong farm bill advances the effort to create jobs and improve the nation’s struggling economy. “Second, it is a jobs bill. You're talking about millions of jobs, both on a direct basis and on an indirect basis -- millions of jobs.”

A strong farm bill also makes the nation stronger and more secure, he said. “We’re not beholden to other countries or relying on other countries, particularly countries that may have very different interests than we have for our food supply.”

Hoeven said one of the key elements in the new farm bill is a program to help farmers and ranchers insure their crops affordably at higher levels. To do that, the bill enhances crop insurance with a 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 addresses shallow and repetitive losses, Hoeven said. The ARC program works with crop insurance by covering between 11 and 21 percent of a producer’s historic five-year average revenues based on price and yield.

The senator closed by urging his colleagues to arrive at an agreement on taking up amendments so that the Senate can move forward on a vote on the bill. “This is a bill that affects every single American, and it is time we find a way to get this bill done, for the good of farm country and for the good of the American people.”