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Public Statements

Farm Bill

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of this week, we come even closer to the date on which our farm bill will expire, which is on September 30, in just a short period of time.

Yesterday, we had a rally here on the Capitol grounds that hundreds of farmers from across the Nation came together and talked about the importance of doing a farm bill now. That was the driving theme because we recognize the responsibility that farmers across this Nation have to feed our families and to make sure that they have food that they can put on the tables across this world.

Recently, I received a letter from some producers in South Dakota. Myron and Mary are real people, and they live near Wall, South Dakota. I wanted to read this letter for you today. They have a farming and ranching operation that they have had since 1969 near the Badlands of South Dakota. They farm around 750 acres of corn and wheat in South Dakota, and like many producers, they're struggling through this drought that has afflicted our country. I want to read a portion of that letter to you:

Our area was designated extreme drought early July. The corn usually yields 60 bushels per acre; wheat, 50 bushels per acre; safflower, 1,200 pounds per acre; alfalfa, 1 ton per acre. This year, the corn was cut for hay and silage, the safflower yielded half, and the alfalfa was next to nothing. We usually raise enough hay to meet our needs. To date, we have spent $120,000 to buy hay, and we still need more.

The farm bill is important to our operation in two areas in particular: Number one, crop insurance that is all inclusive (hail, fire, drought); and, number two, disaster assistance as provided in the last farm bill but expired last year. Disaster assistance is desperately needed now due to the drought.

It is the time of year to plant wheat and to wean calves, which we will do. We don't know if it will rain, but if we knew that a farm bill was in place, we could make the decisions whether to maintain our cowherd numbers and if we plant crop. Please pass a farm bill before the end of the year.

I want you to take a look at this picture that's next to me that is a cornfield in South Dakota. It was taken a while ago. If you would look at this field, traditionally, when this picture was taken, that corn should be lush and green; it would be setting ears, it would be building test weight, and it would be ready for harvest. Instead, these stalks are falling over due to the drought. They weren't able to provide much in growth and are struggling. This corn, more than likely, will be cut for silage--for feed for cattle--instead of returning on the investment for the producers that planted it hoping to get a crop.

We need to give Myron and Mary and producers such as those that own this corn and their families that depend on the food grown in this country the certainty of a farm bill. We cannot wait for the next disaster. We need to do our job. We need to continue to provide for our families across this country that need affordable food policies and depend upon this country and the security that a strong food program can bring them through doing a farm bill now.

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