Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer today hosted a farm bill roundtable in Fargo with state community agriculture leaders to discuss passing a farm bill. The delegation said they are working to pass the right kind of farm bill that meets the needs of North Dakota farmers and ranchers and will pass both chambers of Congress by the end of the year.
The delegation began the discussion highlighting the five-year farm bill the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee crafted and passed last year with a strong, bipartisan majority in the Senate. Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Agriculture committee and helped draft the bill, said the heart and soul of it is enhanced crop insurance.
The bill also provides $23 billion in savings for deficit reduction, streamlines farm programs and ensures that farmers and ranchers continue to have strong support not only with enhanced crop insurance, but also a provision to help producers with shallow losses. It continues the no-cost sugar program and provides support for research to ensure that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to produce the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. The senators and congressman are now working with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to pass a farm bill in the new Congress.
"We remain committed to working to pass a farm bill that meets the needs of North Dakota's farmers and ranchers, and one that can pass both Houses," the delegation said. "We recognize that our nation's farmers continue to face a number of challenges inherent in their work, and we want to make sure they have a farm bill that enables them to continue producing the most stable, safe and affordable food supply in the world."
The delegation emphasized the need to retain many key aspects of the farm bill passed last year, including crop insurance, which farmers and ranchers from across North Dakota have indicated they want for better risk management. The delegation indicated this provision should remain a centerpiece of the farm bill. Other key provisions the delegation noted included cutting the deficit by more than $23 billion and implementing common-sense, cost-effective provisions that help producers with shallow losses, provide support for research and continue the no-cost sugar program.
Joining the congressional delegation for the roundtable meeting were representatives from the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association; RRV Sugar Beet Growers; North Dakota Farm Bureau; North Dakota Farmers Union; North Dakota Barley; Northern Canola Growers Association; North Dakota Corn; North Dakota Gran Growers Association; North Dakota Stockmen's Association; North Dakota Dairy; and others.
Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp both serve on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.