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Farm Bill

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A year extension to the 2008 Farm Bill wasn't a good enough solution for many producers and law makers.

Today Senator John Hoeven invites the Administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency to hear what farmers and ranchers in North Dakota want included in the bill that's about to be written.

Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin has more from today's roundtable discussion.

It's been a long battle to get a Farm Bill.

Senator John Hoeven / ND (R): "My goal is to try and get a bill before August. That's what I am shooting for."

Senator John Hoeven says producers can expect a farm bill that is similar to the last bill that the Senate debated -- the one that never passed.

A bill that cuts more than 23 billion dollars over 10 years.

Nutrition accounts for more than 80%.

While Farm programs get less than 20%.

Senator John Hoeven / ND (R): "Number one focus based on what farmers and ranchers are telling us are crop insurance. We will have farm coverage at the farm level, you'll be able to buy that supplemental coverage option at the county level. We'll have Ag Risk coverage and livestock indemity.So I think in terms of the insurance piece which is the real heart and soul of this farm bill, it's going to be there and that's what our producers want."

The cry for stronger farm coverage is the same in the House.

Kevin Cramer / ND (R): "Crop insurance will really be the key component to any farm bill going forward. Not direct payments, but rather a robust farm bill going forward that provides a safety net that gives comfort to the farmer, as well as the lender."

Brandon Willis with the USDA Risk Management Agency says the farm organizations here are giving him a clear message to take back to Washington D.C.---crop insurance is key.

Brandon Willis / USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator: "Congress will do what they do, but they are looking towards more and more crop insurance. Obviously crop insurance is a good tool because farmers have skin the game you sign up for crop insurance, you pay your own money in, last year farmers nationwide paid 4 billion dollars in premiums for the program. And I think that's the direction we are headed and if we are headed in that direction that's why it's so valuable to be out here.

Senator Hoeven says the Senate Ag Committee will mark up the bill either May 9th or 14th.

Congressman Kevin Cramer expects the House will mark up the farm bill May 15th and vote on the farm bill in June.

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