I grew up in Hettinger, North Dakota and spent my summers hauling bales and working cattle. My wife Tracy and I still spend time working a family ranch in western North Dakota today. My father was a large animal veterinarian, and growing up in Hettinger taught me the importance of hard work and the value of a dollar. My interest in farming and agriculture led to involvement in the 4-H and the Future Farmers of America at an early age. The lessons I learned growing up gave me the foundation, values, and work ethic that I'll never forget.
After high school I attended North Dakota State University, where after several summers spent custom harvesting to help pay my college bills, I graduated with a degree in Agriculture Economics. I understand the importance of our agriculture industry, and its success is vital to the long-term economic strength and overall health of North Dakota and our nation. Americans enjoy a high quality of life and the American farmer has contributed to this greatly.
North Dakota producers provide a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. It's critical that North Dakota's interests and priorities are represented in agriculture policy and the next Food Security Act. I have held town halls and agriculture forums across the state where I have met with farmers and agriculture groups to discuss the next farm bill. Together with House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), we hosted roundtable discussions right here in North Dakota with members of our agriculture community. The discussion yielded common sense ideas to strengthen our agriculture economy. Our farmers are willing to shoulder their share of reductions to help fix our budget problems, but they should not have to take disproportionate cuts. I will continue to focus on the importance of a good farm bill for the food and economic security of America's rural and urban communities.
I will work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to include the priorities of North Dakota's farmers and ranchers in our nation's agriculture policies and the next farm bill. This will include providing a strong safety net to help producers manage their risk. Good crop insurance for our farmers is a top priority. I will also work to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, fund agriculture research and support open and strong markets.
As we continue our efforts to meet the demands of a growing global economy I will work with farmers, ranchers, producers, educators, and students to craft agriculture policy that meets today's challenges and prepares for tomorrow's.