Our country needs a Farm Bill that will create security for our nation's food supply and producers, protecting farmers with appropriate risk management tools, while achieving cost savings to reduce our national debt. What I most often hear producers say is this: Provide a modest safety net and let us farm our land.
Strengthening the crop insurance program in place of direct payments provides a market-based approach that protects family farmers and provides real budget cuts and deficit reduction. Eligibility for federal programs should not be tied to conservation compliance, a restriction that would add mountains of paperwork and prove an unnecessary burden to an already complex industry-government relationship. North Dakota agriculture producers know a lot more about feeding a hungry world and caring for their land than any environmentalist group or Washington DC bureaucrat.
The House's inclusion of HR 872 -- the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act -- in a 2012 Farm Bill is also important, significantly lessening the EPA's overreaching interference with our state's efficient, responsible producers.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or "Food Stamps") currently constitutes about 80% of the Farm Bill's $1 trillion price tag. Over the past four years, enrollment in the food stamp program has doubled to over 45 million people. To revive the economy, we must get spending under control, and the House's proposed $16 billion cut, which represents a modest 2% reduction, is a small step in the right direction.
We have a $16 trillion dollar debt and a failing economy. We need policies that put people to work, not create permanent dependency.