A North Dakota Farmer Discusses Hopes for the 2018 Farm Bill

A few discrepancies between the House and Senate are holding up the proposed 2018 Farm Bill.

US Senator John Hoeven says if Congress is able to pass it before the end of the month, this will be the first time since 1990 a new Farm Bill is passed within the year it expires.

RenĂ©e Cooper sat down with a local farmer to see what the agriculture community is hoping for in the latest bill.

Oliver County farmer Lonnie Hinke shares, “What I’d like to see is the crop insurance premium subsidies stay in, and the disaster program stay in.”

North Dakota farmers seem to be most concerned about keeping their crop insurance and other relief funding to mitigate tough years.

Hinke explains, “Crop insurance premiums are subsidized at 62 percent right now I believe, and from what I read, they were thinking about lowering it to 50. Well that means we pay 12 percent more in crop insurance premiums. That’s a big chunk, 12 percent, so how would it affect me? It would cost a lot more.

The 2018 House and Senate versions of the bill both contain provisions that could affect millions of Americans, many who have never set foot on a farm.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says, “They ought to call it the ‘Food Securities Act’. It’s food, it’s feed, it’s fiber, and in some respects, it does support the use of renewable energy.

The hold up has been the nutrition portion of the bill. There is a debate over the work requirements to qualify for SNAP, the food assistance program.

Senator John Hoeven says, “Good farm policy benefits every single American, every single day, with the lowest cost, highest quality food supply from our farmers and ranchers.”

Senator Hoeven also assured me crop insurance will remain intact.

Commissioner Goehring adds, “There’s a lot of concern, that if it doesn’t get passed, we’re going to end up in a continuing resolution. Which means we have to start this process all over with a new Congress.”

But Hinke is confident the Legislature will take the necessary steps to protect his farm.

He explains, “Really what it’s doing is trying to ensure our country a safe and a steady food supply, an economical one, and we do have all that here.”

Senator Hoeven says he’s confident the Senate will have a bill on the table next week. Then it’s up to the house to make sure we have a resolution by the end of the year.

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