Senator John Hoeven today announced that the full U.S. Senate has voted for cloture on the new farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. Today's vote assures passage of the measure by the full Senate when it reconvenes next week.
The new legislation focuses on enhanced crop insurance, the number one priority for North Dakota producers; continues the sugar program, also important for North Dakota farmers; and saves more than $24 billion to help reduce the deficit.
The measure moved quickly through the Senate, Hoeven said, because lawmakers had already worked through dozens of amendments when it passed an almost identical measure last year and were able to build on the earlier legislation. The House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill out of committee with a large bipartisan majority and is expected to bring it to the House floor in June or July. Once passed, the two versions will need to be reconciled in a joint Senate-House conference committee.
"Today, the Senate voted to move a strong farm bill to the floor for a final vote," Hoeven said. "This bill supports our farmers and ranchers by providing them with the risk management tools they need to deal with volatile markets and weather, while ensuring that Americans continue to enjoy the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. Now we look forward to final passage and working with our colleagues in the House to pass farm legislation that will give our producers the certainty and confidence they need to plan for the future."
The farm bill is a jobs creator and helps the economy
Hoeven said the legislation provides support for 16 million jobs in the food and agriculture sector, and contributes billions of dollars to the national economy. Agriculture has a positive balance of trade, and produces a financial surplus for the country.
The farm bill saves money to help reduce the deficit and debt
The 2013 farm bill provides more than $24 billion in savings, more than what is required by sequestration, to help address the nation's deficit and debt.
The farm bill provides a strong, market-based safety net for producers
Hoeven underscored that the safety net in the farm bill is focused on enhanced crop insurance. The legislation enhances crop insurance with the inclusion of the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The SCO enables producers to purchase a supplemental policy beyond their individual farm-based policy.
In addition, the bill features a new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program that covers assistance for multiple-year losses. The program works with crop insurance by covering between 78 and 88 percent of a producer's historic five-year average revenues based on price and yield.
The farm bill continues the no net-cost sugar program
Hoeven worked hard to ensure that the farm bill continues the sugar program, designed to run at no-net cost. The provision ensures that American producers have a level playing field in the world market.
The farm bill strengthens national security
The bill also strengthens national security, he said. "Our country doesn't have to depend for our food supply on other countries, countries that don't necessarily share our interests or values, and that makes all of us safer."
The farm bill levels the playing field for corn growers
The final Senate package includes a Hoeven amendment to address low test weight issues for corn growers, enabling them to get actual market price for their crop by extending the 60-day window for settling claims to 120 days.
The farm bill includes rural water management and flood protection
The legislation includes a Klobuchar-Hoeven-Heitkamp amendment to support flood protection in the Red River Valley, as well as other conservation, agricultural research, rural development and energy programs.
Hoeven leads effort to address critical conservation compliance mandates
He also introduced amendments to improve conservation compliance rules for farmers, as well as another measure to simplify and clarify Risk Management rules for Prevented Plant. The senator said he will continue to push these amendments as the farm bill is wrapped up on the Senate floor and when the Senate and U.S. House go to conference committee.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed its version of a farm bill out of committee two weeks ago. The House version will have to be brought to the House floor and reconciled in conference committee with the Senate version. The current farm bill expires at the end of September.
THE AGRICULTURE REFORM, FOOD AND JOBS ACT OF 2013 SUMMARY
The farm bill, which Senator Hoeven helped draft, would:
Provide more than $24 billion in savings for deficit and debt reduction.
Preserve and Enhances Crop Insurance for improved risk management.
Introduces a new, voluntary Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program to help producers manage losses.
Reauthorize the no-net cost Sugar Program for five years.
Continues Livestock Disaster Assistance programs through 2018 to help ranchers who lose livestock due to weather-related disasters.
Included a strong Energy Title based on last year's amendment Hoeven coauthored with Senator Conrad. The provision includes support for renewable energy, including cellulosic ethanol and blender pumps.
Includes a Hoeven amendment to address low test weight issues for corn growers, enabling them to get actual market price for their crop by extending the 60-day window for settling claims to 120 days.
Supports Agriculture research programs critical to land-grant universities like North Dakota State University, including DEER.
Includes Advance Market Protection (AMP) programs to help farmers deal with price risk.
Includes deer research and extension grants may be used for the treatment of parasites and diseases, specifically chronic wasting disease and epizootic hemorrhagic disease of farmed deer and elk and the mapping of the deer genome.
Includes amendment Hoeven co-led with Senator Klobuchar to enhance support for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.