From Farmers to Congress: Growers Talk 2018 Farm Bill with Area Politicians

Farmers meet with politicians to make suggestions for the 2018 Farm Bill

FARGO, N.D. — It’s a bill which affects every farmer in the country.

The congressional delegation in North Dakota wants to make sure they get it right.

The 2018 Farm Bill, which is in the debate stage, acts as a federal safety net for farmers in the U.S.

When something bad happens to farmlands, a little extra financial help can be welcome.

With the 2018 Farm Bill underway, the senators and congressman who work on drafting its changes are getting suggestions right from the source.

Congressman Kevin Cramer and representatives for U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven met with producers at the Ramada Plaza.

They’ll bring suggestions from farmers to the capital where the House and Senate will debate changes to the bill.

Cramer is worried about suggested increases to the support.

“Collin Peterson is calling for 40 million acres of CRP, John Thune is calling for 30 to 35 million acres of CRP. Fairly large increases in CRP,” Cramer said. “That concerns me a little. I think farmers are basically billed to grow food, not to be paid not to.”

The last Farm Bill was in 2014, which required an emergency extension.

Cramer said the chairman of the Agriculture Committee wants to get the bill finished early.

“That’s not likely to happen, I don’t think we can get it done a year early because we of course don’t yet have an agriculture secretary,” said Cramer. “So that slows up the process a little bit, but it doesn’t necessarily have to slow up Congress.”

Farmers I spoke with said they feel they’re getting the support they need from Washington, but they hope the agriculture industry doesn’t become a victim of budget cuts.

“They’re looking for cuts, and that’s where they’re going to try and find the cuts,” said Daniel Younggren, a farmer in Hallock and member of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. “Do we want cuts? No. Do we need farm insurance? Absolutely. Especially up in my neck of the woods. If we wouldn’t have had crop insurance last year, we would have lost a lot of young farmers.”

While politicians and farmers continue the debate, others are looking forward to a potentially early growing season.

“There’s a lot of incentive to try and get out as early as possible, but again, given the weather, you don’t want an early frost that will kill some of your plants as well,” said NDSU Crop Economist, Frayne Olson.

A weekly federal crop report predicts April 20th will be the average start date for crop growers in North Dakota.

Categories: Agriculture, Local News, News Landing Page, North Dakota News