CRAMER INTRODUCES BILL TO FIX ARC COMMODITY SUPPORT PROGRAM
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer introduced a bill cosponsored by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) to require the Secretary of Agriculture to prioritize data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) when computing average county yields for the purposes of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) Program.
The 2014 Farm Bill included two new programs for covered commodities, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), allowing the producer to choose once per farm bill which policy they believe would provide the most effective safety net. Unfortunately the design of ARC, and the manner in which USDA implemented the program has created problems for producers, particularly as it relates to inconsistent county yield data.
Rather than the current policy of prioritizing inconsistent survey data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Cramer’s three page bill (H.R.4654) would direct the Secretary to prioritize Risk Management Agency (RMA), or crop insurance, data over all other forms in counties where RMA offers county-wide insurance products, while also allowing the Secretary of Agriculture flexibility for all other instances. Additionally, the legislation codifies USDA’s earlier decision to operate the program based on the physical location of the base acres, rather than requiring producers to elect one county for all payments.
“Even though it is anticipated most producers will utilize Price Loss Coverage going forward, our legislation provides a surgical fix to ARC in case the program is reauthorized in the next Farm Bill,” said Cramer. “One less headache for North Dakota producers.”
“As Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’m working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve existing farm bill programs. While I’ve never been a fan of ARC I do believe we can make improvements to its data sources that will give producers more confidence in the program. This bill is a good starting point for reauthorizing the farm bill next year,” said Peterson.
Click here to read the bill.