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Farmer’s concern is tying compliance requirements with eligibility to participate in crop insurance program

Bob Ibes Jr. farms 4,000 acres southwest of Jamestown on land that was farmed by his father and grandfather.

With the U.S. Senate passing the latest version of the farm bill on a 68-32 vote Tuesday afternoon, Ibes said he isn’t sure what the new farm bill will mean for him and his farm.

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“The last I heard (about the farm bill) was the House had passed, and that was last week or 10 days ago,” Ibes said.

U.S. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., voted for the bill, according to information provided by the senators. With the House approving the bill last week, it now goes to President Barack Obama for signing.

Ibes said his biggest concern with the farm bill is tying in conservation compliance requirements with being eligible to participate in the crop insurance program. Ibes said if he is required to be in compliance with conservation requirements through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he is not sure if he will participate in the farm program this year.

“You have to be careful to be in compliance if you’re taking part in the program,” he said.

Ibes said a problem for most farmers is if they don’t have crop insurance, it is difficult to borrow money to finance the planting of crops in the spring.

“If you’ve got to borrow money, the first question they ask is if you have crop insurance,” he said.

Don Canton, communications director for Hoeven, said the new farm bill allows farmers who have already tiled and made changes to their land to still sign up for crop insurance.

Hoeven said in a prepared statement Tuesday that the farm bill balances the needs of agriculture with the need to reduce the federal government deficit. The five-year bill includes $23 billion in savings, according to Hoeven.

Heitkamp said in a press conference held before the Senate vote Tuesday that while she likes many things about the farm bill, she was a little disappointed that the conservation compliance requirement remained in the final version.

Heitkamp said she and Hoeven’s next priority is making sure the provisions of the farm bill are enforced according to congressional intent.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454