Senator Kent Conrad met withdozens of North Dakota farm leaders today to provide an update on the prospects for a new five year bill after the House of Representatives declined to formally consider the legislation before adjourning for the month of August.
"The entire Senate has done its job. We carefully negotiated a new five year bill that enjoyed broad bipartisan support," Senator Conrad said. "We are prepared to negotiate a compromise with the House, but before we are able to do that, they need to reverse course and make the bill a priority. North Dakota's farm and ranch families deserve that much."
A senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Conrad highlighted key elements of the Senate-passed Bill, saying it:
Reduces the deficit by $23 billion while maintaining a strong safety net.
Creates a new farm-level Agriculture Risk Coverage program that will work hand and glove with crop insurance to provide North Dakota farmers with additional protection from multi-year shallow losses and price declines.
Extends livestock disaster programs for this year and the life of the Farm Bill.
Includes new incentives that Senator Conrad authored to expand renewable energy production and move our nation towards energy independence.
Streamlines conservation and rural development programs to make them easier to understand and administer.
Ensures that nutrition programs operate as intended while making sure the programs still help the neediest among us put food on the table for their families; and
Includes important reforms, with a new payment limit of $50,000 and reduces the adjusted gross income test from $1 million to $750,000.
The Senator noted that there are only 41 days until parts of the current Farm Bill begin to expire.
The Senate passed its bill on a bipartisan vote of 64-35.
Senator Conrad is widely credited with helping to author the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. Both are considered among the best bills ever for North Dakota farm and ranch families.