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Public Statements

Still No Farm Bill

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, this is the second-to-the-last day that we'll be here and be in session before we head home to our districts, and we still do not have a farm bill that gives certainty to our producers and our ranchers across the country. In a little over a week, the 2008 farm bill is going to expire.

While many of these programs will continue into the future for months ahead, we have an opportunity to actually save money and give other producers certainty as they begin planning for the coming years.

Last week, I sat down and I visited with Mike and Lori. They're producers from near the town of Huron, South Dakota. They raise corn, soybeans, and beef cattle. And this year was particularly difficult for them in light of the drought situation that producers in South Dakota were facing.

Thankfully, they had programs such as crop insurance that helped them manage their risk in such a difficult year. They wrote me a letter on the importance of the farm bill, and I want to read a portion of that letter to you:

We are experiencing a severe drought in our area this year. We put up half the hay that we normally do. Dugouts are starting to dry up, and crop yields will be down significantly. Crop insurance will be extremely important to offset lost crop production and lost revenue due to poor crop conditions. Crop insurance is a vital part of providing stability to our income and allowing us to stay a viable family farm dedicated to growing a safe, affordable food supply for a growing world.

They went on in their letter to describe exactly what this means to their family at home:

We have a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. We tell them daily how important our jobs are as farmers, how we are truly feeding the world. They are taking true pride and ownership of that, and passing a good farm bill only helps stabilize their dreams, their futures--and ours.

A 5-year farm bill gives us the stability to plan ahead for our operation long term. With the limited time Congress has to pass a farm bill before the current one expires, I would encourage lawmakers to look to rural America and realize how much work we can get done in a week. We know that, if the farm bill is made a priority, there is still enough time to get one passed. Thank you again for your work, and we urge Congress to pass a farm bill now.

This past week, I was traveling through the middle of our State, in an area that has been hit particularly hard by the drought. I stopped at a truck stop and visited with many producers who were there filling up with fuel and getting supplies to head back out to the field. You see, right now in South Dakota, producers are planting a winter wheat crop, and they're having to make the decision: Do they put that crop into dry ground, or do they wait and see if they get a farm bill and crop insurance into the future so that they have the certainty to make sure that their risk is managed?

Many of those producers were electing not to plant. They were waiting to see if they could get rain and get a program that would actually keep their families in business. Some were putting it in the ground, showing that they truly are brave producers who have little faith that the skies will open up and that next year will be different.

I tell you that they and Mike and Lori and other producers across the State of South Dakota and across this country who have been particularly hit in these tough times are looking to us here in Congress to provide them certainty during this drought. The farm bill is one of the reasons that our family farmers are able to stay in business during tough years. Many other programs in the farm bill give them the stability and certainty, which, in turn, gives every American the certainty in having a reliable, affordable food supply.

I ran for Congress to bring more common sense to this place and to be an efficient and effective leader for South Dakota. We have an opportunity to get a farm bill done this year that provides a safety net and real reforms for our producers and cost savings for the taxpayers. While the clock hasn't run out yet, I think it is important that we get our work done on time, and I am disappointed that it hasn't been scheduled for a vote.

Sept. 11, 2012.
Hon. Kristi Noem,
Cannon House Office Building,
Washington, DC.

Dear Rep. Noem: Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you during our trip to Washington, D.C., to talk about passing the farm bill. My husband, Mike, and I are both third-generation farmers. We have a diversified crop and beef cattle operation 25 miles southwest of Huron, S.D., where we raise corn, soybeans and 250 head of cattle.

We are experiencing a severe drought in our area this year. We put up half the hay that we normally do, dugouts are starting to dry up and crop yields will be down significantly. Crop insurance will be extremely important to offset lost crop production and lost revenue due to poor crop conditions. Crop insurance is a vital part of providing stability to our income and allowing us to stay a viable family farm dedicated to growing a safe, affordable food supply for a growing world. We were fortunate to have utilized the EQIP Program to install two water
sources in two pastures to provide drinking water for our cattle which has been vital during this drought. We were also able to participate in the Stewardship Program through NRCS. Those conservation practices helped retain subsoil moisture which has been critical in the drought conditions we've faced.

We have a 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. We tell them daily how important our jobs are as farmers, how we are truly feeding the world. They are taking true pride and ownership of that and passing a good farm bill only helps stabilize their dreams and ours.

A five-year farm bill gives us the stability to plan ahead for our operation long term. With the limited time Congress has to pass a farm bill before the current one expires, I would encourage lawmakers to look to rural America and realize how much work we can get done in a week. We know that if the farm bill is made a priority, there is enough time to get this bill passed. Thank you again for your work and we urge Congress to pass a farm bill now.

Sincerely,

Mike and Lori Peskey,
Iroquois, S.D.


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