Top USDA Official talks Farm Bill in Bismarck - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Top USDA Official talks Farm Bill in Bismarck


After a devastating blow on Thursday, Ag officials are back to work to get the House to reconsider the Farm Bill the chamber failed.
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin takes you to today's Farm Bill Roundtable discussion in Bismarck.

(Sen. Heidi Heitkamp / ND (D)"Agriculture, which in North Dakota is still number one in our economy and absolutely critical to making sure we have our sustained economic growth in North Dakota."
(Michael Scuse / USDA Acting Deputy Secretary) "I was personally very surprised. Extremely disappointed in the House. This is a piece of legislation that is extremely important to the entire population of the United States."
Michael Scuse is the current U.S. Department of Agriculture's Acting Deputy Secretary.
He says agriculture is a thriving industry in our nation with one in every 12 jobs in the U.S. is ag related.
(Michael Scuse / USDA Acting Deputy Secretary) "We just had the four biggest years in agriculture trade that we have ever had. We are on pace this year to have another record year. We need those programs that are in the farm bill to keep our trade moving."
Scuse expects ag trade to total 140 billion dollars this year.
Rancher Kenny Graner was in Washington D.C. on a fly-in with other North Dakota producers when the news broke that the protection plan they had come to fight for had failed.
(Kenny Graner / "We were devastated, it's like come on we have been working at this for a few years already. Ag has stepped up to the plate. Offered our cuts, but also pointed out the areas that we can't cut and we can stay efficient."
Heitkamp says the next step is for the House to reconsider and pass their version of the bill or take up the Senate Version.
Both Heitkamp and Scuse agree--another extension isn't the answer.
(Sen. Heidi Heitkamp / ND (D) "The programs that people haven't like for years and years, gone. real reforms in the Senate bill on SNAP, making sure that people aren't gaming the system. We had real reforms with real dollar savings. All of that will not be realized if we go to an extension and don't pass a farm bill."
The cries from these Ag groups have a similar ring--a the safety net for producers is key.

The bill was defeated by a vote of 234 to 195.
House Representative for North Dakota, Kevin Cramer, voted in favor of the bill.


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