Cramer, Peterson Hold Bipartisan Roundtable on Farm Bill
Today Congressman Kevin Cramer and Ranking Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson hosted an agriculture roundtable with farm group leaders in the region. Cramer and Peterson provided an update on both the House and Senate versions of the 2013 Farm Bill, and heard input from agriculture organizations and individual producers.
“The timing of today’s meeting allowed us to listen to concerns from the users of these programs before the Farm Bill is debated on the House floor. Farmers appreciate the modest budget savings in the version passed by the House Agriculture Committee, along with its strengthening of the crop insurance program. Collin is providing excellent leadership in guiding the Farm Bill on his side of the aisle, and I will continue doing the same with my colleagues,” said Cramer.
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 on May 15 with a bipartisan vote of 36 to 10, including 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The bill includes nearly $40 billion in savings, strengthens and provides options for crop insurance, consolidates programs, and reforms the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. Additionally, it saves $6 billion by consolidating duplicative conservation programs and streamlining the delivery of incentive funds to farmers, ranchers, and landowners. Unlike the Senate Farm Bill, the House version does not require farmers to comply with conservation programs in order to be eligible for crop insurance.
“Going into the amendment process in the House, my top priority is ensuring farmers can access crop insurance without being forced to comply with conservation programs. The demands of compliance could be increased down the road, and farmers would be left holding the bag. The House Agriculture Committee made the right decision by not including this provision, but its inclusion in the Senate is a reminder there is more work ahead in making sure both chambers agree on not just any farm bill, but the right kind of farm bill,” Cramer added.
In attendance at the meeting were representatives from the North Dakota Barley Council, the North Dakota Corn Council, the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Northern Canola Growers Association, the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, North Dakota Farm Bureau, North Dakota Farmers Union, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, American Crystal Sugar, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the North Dakota State University Extension Service, along with independent producers, and Minnesota commodity groups.