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HomeAg NewsVIDEO: Ranking Member Boozman Speaks in Support of the FARMER Act

VIDEO: Ranking Member Boozman Speaks in Support of the FARMER Act

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined his colleagues on the Senate floor to voice support for the Federal Agriculture Risk Management Enhancement and Resilience (FARMER) Act which seeks to improve crop insurance affordability by increasing premium support for the highest levels of coverage and enhancing the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).

Introduced by committee member Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), the FARMER Act seeks to:

  • increase premium support for certain revenue protection and yield protection policies at the 80% coverage level from 68% to 77% and at the 85% coverage level from 53% to 68%;
  • increase premium support for the SCO, an area-based plan, from 65% to 80% and increase the SCO coverage level from 86% to 90%; and
  • direct the Risk Management Agency to conduct a study to improve the effectiveness of SCO in counties larger than 1,400 square miles.

“I commend Senator Hoeven’s leadership in introducing the FARMER Act and proactively addressing the needs of farmers and ranchers who have asked for improvements to the federal crop insurance program. The FARMER Act includes critical components to modernizing the farm safety net for producers across all regionals and all commodities,” Boozman said in his remarks. “We can pass a farm bill that strengthens Title I and Title XI while also making improvements across every other title to meet our shared goals. This isn’t an either-or decision. The next farm bill provides an incredible opportunity to make things right for farmers, ranchers, rural communities and those in need.”

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), also a committee member, joined Boozman and Hoeven to speak in support of the bill. The bill has the endorsement of over 20 farm groups including American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council, American Soybean Association, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Corn Growers Association.

The following are Boozman’s complete remarks as prepared:

I’d like to thank my good friend from North Dakota, Senator Hoeven, for his leadership on this issue.   

Under normal circumstances, we would have been celebrating the passage of a new farm bill by now.  

Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, and our farmers continue to face far from normal circumstances. 

But we are making progress, and I am committed to meaningfully addressing the needs of farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.   

Alongside bolstering the Title I reference prices, maintaining and improving crop insurance is at the top of the list for my farm bill priorities. 

But more importantly, these are the top priorities of farmers across the country. 

The first of many farm bill listening sessions I’ve participated in started with a roundtable in Senator Hoeven’s home state of North Dakota.  

The takeaway from that event has been echoed across the countryside and in meetings throughout Washington – “we need more farm in the farm bill.”  

This next farm bill must update the risk management tools farmers and ranchers need to succeed in order to reflect the nature of the challenges under which they operate today.  

Because here’s the reality—producers are experiencing unprecedented challenges, regulatory uncertainty, and historic volatility in the farm economy – all of which are projected to get worse.   

A producer from Minnesota told me recently that record-high input costs coupled with declining crop prices, would mean that she would have to harvest a record yield just to break even.

That is not a scenario farm families want to pass on to the next generation.  

Historic inflation, rising interest rates, a record trade deficit, devastating natural disasters, and global disruptions will make it more difficult for our farmers to succeed in the years to come.  

And with an outdated farm safety net – described by a Texas farmer as “two inches above the concrete”— agriculture is left wondering “what level of crisis is necessary to compel Washington to act”.  

I commend Senator Hoeven’s leadership in introducing the FARMER Act and proactively addressing the needs of farmers and ranchers who have asked for improvements to the federal crop insurance program. 

The FARMER Act includes critical components to modernizing the farm safety net for producers across all regionals and all commodities.  

From wheat in North Dakota; to cotton in Georgia; peaches in New Jersey; corn in Illinois and Colorado; to apples in Vermont and soybeans in Ohio; producers in every state could reap the benefits of more affordable crop insurance options. 

The strength of this approach is underscored by the endorsement of over 20 grassroots organizations representing the voices of farm families across the country. 

We can pass a farm bill that strengthens Title I and Title XI while also making improvements across every other title to meet our shared goals. 

This isn’t an either-or decision. 

The next farm bill provides an incredible opportunity to make things right for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and those in need.  

Working together, we can protect and enhance voluntary conservation programs, provide investments needed to open new export markets and expand existing markets, build on research that allows our farmers to do more with less while reducing environmental impacts, protect the health of our nation’s herds and flocks, and help rural communities flourish and prosper.   

Passing such a bill is never an easy task, but it’s one this body has come together to accomplish time and again.  

I look forward to continuing to work with Chairwoman Stabenow and my Senate colleagues to pass a farm bill that achieves these goals, and I am appreciative of Senator Hoeven’s contribution to that process. 

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