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Randy Richards, Hope, N.D., Published October 12 2012

Letter: Berg wrong man for ND farmers

It now appears that the farm bill will not be passed before the election. Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., passed a good bill out of the U.S. Senate, but Congressman Rick Berg, R-N.D., was unable and unwilling to get his party to even take up a farm bill – any farm bill – on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Berg is desperately attempting to paint himself as someone who can deliver for North Dakota farmers.

Those of us involved in agriculture know that this claim simply doesn’t match his record.

Beside his inability to bring a farm bill to a vote, he has twice supported a budget that would cut $180 billion from farm programs. Most of the cuts would come from nutrition programs and hurt poor kids. The rest of them would come out of programs that help keep family farms on the land. Crop insurance would take a beating, and ag research would likely be on the chopping block, just to name a couple.

Berg was never known for being someone we could rely on while he was in the state Legislature, either. He was unhelpful during the drought years in the late ’80s, and he was a consistent opponent when we worked to implement a wide range of common sense farm-friendly bills in the late ’90s.

Farm families are going to lose a strong voice when Sen. Kent Conrad retires. We need to replace him with someone we know we can trust when ag policy and ag budgets are being debated. We need someone who really believes how important agriculture is to North Dakota. We need Heidi Heitkamp.