Hoeven: U.S. Senate Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill
Bill Has Strong Provisions for Growers, but More to Do in House, Conference Committee
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013, which saves more than $24 billion for deficit reduction, streamlines farm programs and ensures that farmers and ranchers continue to have strong support through enhanced crop insurance. The measure will now go to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.
“While we clearly have more work to do, today’s committee vote takes us a large step toward a long-term farm bill that will give our producers a strong safety net and the certainty they need to plant with confidence,” Hoeven said. “Agriculture is an industry that employs more than 16 million people, has a positive balance of trade and produces the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world for our nation. ”
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.
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 no net-cost 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 is also important to national security, he said. “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 us safer.”
The Farm Bill levels the playing ground for corn growers
In addition, the final Farm Bill package included 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.
Hoeven leads effort to address critical conservation compliance mandates
He also introduced an amendment to decouple conservation compliance and crop insurance, as well as other measures to reform existing conservation compliance mandates. Although the measures weren’t included in the final version of the bill passed out of committee, the senator said he will continue to push them when the full Senate and U.S. House take up the bill and when it goes to conference committee.
“Thank you to Senator Hoeven for going to bat for North Dakota farmers,” said Brad Thykeson, President of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. “Senator Hoeven’s amendments continue awareness for the continued debate on the issue of conservation compliance being tied to crop insurance.”
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently working on its version of a farm bill, which will have to be reconciled in conference committee with the Senate version. The current farm bill expires at the end of September.
THE AGRICULTURE REFORM, FOOD AND JOBS ACT OF 2013 SUMMARY
The farm bill, which Senator Hoeven helped draft, would:
- Provide more than $24 billion in savings for deficit and debt reduction.
- Preserve 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.
- Included 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 Cervidae 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 amendment Hoeven co-led with Senator Klobuchar to enhance support for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
- Includes a Klobuchar-Hoeven-Heitkamp amendment to support flood protection in the Red River Valley, as well as other conservation, agricultural research, rural development, and energy programs.
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