The Honorable Frank Lucas The Honorable Collin Peterson
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Agriculture Committee on Agriculture
Dear Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson,
America's agricultural industry has been one of the brightest spots in our economy over the last several years. Last year in my home state of Indiana, Hoosier farmers produced over $10 billion in economic activity. As a representative from a district with nearly 5,000 family farmers, I have heard from many of my constituents about the importance of Congress allowing farmers to use their ingenuity, hard work, and incredible dedication to create their own rewards, while putting in place a safety net designed to protect against natural disasters and sharp market downturns.
As the House Agriculture Committee begins marking up its draft of the next Farm Bill, I would like to highlight for the committee several areas of concern to Hoosier farmers. I have listened to many constituents express the need to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative regulations, and as a result, I was encouraged by your inclusion in the draft Farm Bill of the legislative text of a bill I support, H.R. 872, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. This legislation would clarify that farmers do not need an additional Clean Water Act permit when properly applying agents already approved under existing law. I have also heard concerns from farmers and lenders about potentially losing access to crop insurance premium subsides if one of their fields is out of compliance with a conservation plan, and I hope that the committee will find the appropriate balance between encouraging participation in important conservation programs and ensuring that farmers have access to appropriate levels of crop insurance protections. Also, I would like the committee to reconsider its decision to eliminate funding that encourages the installation of ethanol blender pumps. Hoosier farms are a great source of renewable energy, and I will continue to advocate for improving market access to biofuels as part of a strategy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Having served on the committee during the passage of the previous Farm Bill, I know firsthand the difficulty of creating a comprehensive Farm Bill. I commend the two of you for your bipartisan work on the draft measure of this bill, and I encourage the other members of the committee to follow your example. I look forward to examining the bill reported out by your committee and evaluating how it would impact Indiana.