Hoeven: We Need to Get the Farm Bill Right for Our Producers

Senator Calls on Ag Secretary, Colleagues to Prioritize Crop Insurance & Counter-Cyclical Safety Net

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven stressed to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the need to keep the farm in the farm bill. Hoeven called on Vilsack and his fellow committee members to prioritize key risk management programs for farmers and ranchers, outlining the benefits to American consumers and the broader economy. In particular, the senator pressed for:

  • Maintaining and strengthening crop insurance, the primary risk management tool for many producers.
    • Improving the affordability of higher levels of coverage will better enable producers to weather natural disasters and reduce the need for ad-hoc disaster assistance.
  • Updating and improving the counter-cyclical safety net, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
    • Hoeven stated that reference prices need to reflect market realities and the cost of production that farmers are currently facing.

“Crop insurance and the counter-cyclical safety net are fundamental to our system of agriculture, which still largely consists of small, family-based businesses. That’s something we don’t see in other industries, and we shouldn’t take it for granted,” said Hoeven. “Americans benefit from the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world, and families in the U.S. spend less of their budget on food than other developed nations. That’s a result of what our farmers and ranchers do every day, and so when we talk about this farm bill, we need to get it right for our producers.”

In addition to strengthening the farm safety net, Hoeven highlighted the need to:

  • Make sure programs are voluntary and farmer-friendly, instead of one-size-fits-all, to reduce the regulatory burden on producers.
  • Improve transparency and competition in cattle markets.
    • To this end, Hoeven worked to establish a new cattle contract library pilot program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
    • The library provides aggregated contract information, including key contract terms, conditions and volumes, to help producers get a better value for their product. The contract library can be accessed here.
    • Hoeven is now working to permanently establish the library in the farm bill.