Dakota Officials Praise Farm Bill Passage

Some see measure as improvement over existing programs.

North Dakota and South Dakota officials were quick to react to the U.S. House passage of a new Farm Bill Thursday evening.

"Good first step" was the common theme. The Senate is expected to begin work on its version after the August recession.

Here are excerpts of statements issued by several government officials and commodity group spokespersons:

Gov. John Hoeven: "The U.S. House of Representatives' version of the Farm Bill that passed today includes many features important to North Dakota, including a good commodity title with a countercyclical safety net for our producers. The bill also includes a supplemental crop insurance program that would allow producers to cover losses not covered by traditional crop insurance. Additionally, the bill includes renewable energy and conservation titles. These are all good measures, and we support them. However, the legislation lacks a permanent disaster title, which we believe should be included in the bill. We will work on the Senate side to secure its inclusion in the final legislation."

Reid Jensen, president, South Dakota Corn Growers Association: "This is a significant milestone in the lengthy farm bill process and the SDCGA supports the House version of the farm bill. This bill has a strong energy title, a good conservation title and a common sense approach to land management."

Sen. Kent Conrad: "This victory shows our family farmers and ranchers that this Congress is hard at work at the right priorities. In an urban-dominated chamber, this victory for rural America was well-timed and critically important."

North Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Roger Johnson: "The new Farm Bill is a substantial improvement over existing legislation. I am pleased that the marketing loans and countercyclical payment features were kept in place, and that payment limitations, although still too generous, are substantially strengthened."

Robert Carlson, North Dakota Farmers Union president: "While it's not blemish-free, it does contain signficant reform. It takes an historic step forward in establishing payment limits on farm subsidies and will make country-of-origin labeling a reality for meats…What's most significant, for North Dakota producers, is that it raises the loan rates and target prices on wheat, barley, oats and minor oil seeds."

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