Issue Position: Agriculture
Agriculture has been North Dakota's basis for progress for more than a century. We are blessed with some of the most fertile soil in the world. American Agriculture contributes more than 100 billion dollars in exports and has the largest trade surplus of any industry. North Dakota contributes highly to this bright spot in our balance of trade.
With hard work, smart planning, and a growing world wide consumer demand for our agricultural products, our producers have prospered. As with many of our industries, our producers' biggest danger comes from D.C. Our farmers and ranchers can compete with anyone in the world, but the Washington politicians and bureaucrats pose a real threat.
We need to explain to the nation that 67% of the Farm Bill goes for food stamps, nutrition programs, and international aid programs. The amount of money devoted to production agriculture is much less than most would assume.
It is a given that there will be fewer federal funds available for agriculture in the coming farm bill. There should be two guiding principles for deliberations in the next farm bill. First, agriculture must not bear a disproportionate share of the cuts. Second, with the world's population continuing to expand, the need for food will continue to escalate. It is vital that the new farm bill not restrict American and North Dakota farmers from being able to meet this growing demand.
One vital program must be retained and improved, the crop insurance provision of the agriculture budget is critical for our producers. Crop insurance must reflect the reality of today's farmers and ranchers. Another area that must be continued and even expanded, if possible, is for basic and advanced Ag research. With the ever increasing demand, worldwide, for food, fiber, and fuel, continued agricultural research at our universities is imperative. There is a finite amount of cropland and it will not get any larger; in fact, it is shrinking everywhere in the world. So, existing crop land must yield even more. Cutting our agricultural research and development capabilities is both short sighted and dangerous.
Agriculture is a vital industry, not only for food, fiber, and fuel, but, also, for national defense. America's capacity to provide the food, fiber, and fuel for our nation and our allies, if necessary, is a key component in our national security. The new farm bill must reflect this reality. As your Congressman, I will work to ensure that North Dakota farmers and ranchers as well as the businesses, large and small, depending on our soil, will be treated fairly in Washington.