North Dakota is an agricultural powerhouse. Last year alone, we were ranked among the top three producers of 17 different crops, and all of North Dakota's crops combined were valued at $5.9 billion. These figures do not even begin to provide the direct and indirect benefits that our state reaps from our agricultural industry.
I will work to ensure that the success of our farmers and ranchers is not put at risk by an out of touch Washington that cares too much about winning political battles and not enough about standing by the small farmers and ranchers that are the backbone of our food supply when times get tough.
Here's an outline of how we can protect and grow North Dakota's ag economy:
Protect and Strengthen Crop Insurance
It is imperative that we provide a pragmatic safety net so that our family and small farms are shielded from catastrophic losses. The most crucial protection for our farmers is a robust crop insurance program that assists North Dakota's farmers when conditions beyond their control devastate their crops or yields.
My opponent, on the other hand, marched in lockstep with his party leaders and voted to cut crop insurance during his first year in Congress.
Support a Senate Farm Bill That Works for North Dakota
No bill is perfect, and any bill in these tough fiscal times will require sacrifice, but the bi-partisan Senate Farm Bill that passed with votes from both of North Dakota's Senators, Kent Conrad and John Hoeven, makes real cuts to the bottom line to help reduce the deficit by billions while keeping intact the basic safety net that ensures North Dakota's farmers will continue to be an economic engine for our state.
Given North Dakota's unpredictable climate and weather, farmers should be given the choice to select the coverage that best suits their circumstances. For some that would mean opting for farm level coverage rather than be forced to accept a county-by-county revenue plan. Finally, we should be cautious not to construct a farm bill that unfairly favors one region of the country or that encourages producers to plant for the program rather than the market.
Defend the Sugar Program
The sugar program is vital to North Dakota's agricultural economy, providing thousands of direct and indirect jobs in North Dakota and adding hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state's economy each year.
The sugar program operates at no cost to the government and helps put American farmers on equal footing with foreign growers. As Senator, I will fight to make sure that we retain the sugar program.
While he might claim to support the program here in North Dakota, my opponent voluntarily chose to join a Congressional group with stated opposition to the Sugar Program.
Protect Small Family Farms From Burdensome Federal Rules
Too often the federal government tries to apply one size fits all rules and, when it does, they often don't work for small farmers and ranchers. I will go to Washington and fight against unnecessary and redundant paperwork. Farmers should be working their fields and ranchers should be tending their herds, they should not be stuck at the kitchen table buried in government-mandated paperwork.