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Sen. John Hoeven, Published February 08 2014

Letter: New farm bill good example of real bipartisan compromise

Last week, Congress came together to pass a new, bipartisan five-year farm bill for North Dakota and the American people. As a member of the farm bill conference committee, I worked with the conferees to craft a compromise bill that could gain support in both the House and the Senate, as well as with Republicans and Democrats. I’m pleased to say our final version passed the House the week before last with a strong bipartisan majority of 251 to 166 and the Senate last week with a vote of 68 to 32.

Our final bill retains a strong focus on enhanced crop insurance, a priority for North Dakota producers throughout the process. It also includes a new Supplemental Coverage Option, reinstitutes the Livestock Indemnity Program and provides new Agriculture Risk Coverage to help producers through years of repetitive losses or Price Loss Coverage, an enhanced counter-cyclical option.

It also continues the sugar program, and, importantly for our nation, our bill also includes $23 billion in savings to help reduce the deficit and debt.

I want to thank my colleague Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who worked to secure Democratic support, and Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who did heavy lifting in the House to build support for the bill among his Republican colleagues. In conversations with House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as well as with Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., they told me that Cramer worked to win support for this key legislation for North Dakota and our country.

Our new farm bill is a win for the nation’s agricultural producers, who now have the certainty to plan for the future, and a win for the

16 million people working in the agriculture industry to feed the nation and the world.

Most importantly, it’s a win for American consumers, who benefit every day from the work of our farmers and ranchers, who provide them with the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world.

Hoeven, R-N.D., was a member of the farm bill conference committee.