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Letter to the editor: N.D., U.S. have strong, new farm bill

This 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 the House and the Senate, as well as with Republicans and Democrats. I’m pleased to say our final version passed the House last week with a strong bipartisan majority of 251-166 and the Senate this week with a vote of 68-32.

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 colleagues Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who worked to secure Democratic support, and Rep. 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 Rep. 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 who help 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, a Republican, is one of two senators representing North Dakota in Washington)