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North Dakotans release farm bill idea

DANIEL LOOKER 04/04/2012 @ 11:18am Business Editor

North Dakota's two U.Ssenators, Democrat Kent Conrad and Republican John Hoeven, released a proposal for the next farm bill Wednesday that combines features of the current law's ACRE and SURE programs.

Both are members of Senate Agriculture Committee, which may have a farm bill to vote on by mid-April, according to another committee member, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Often, getting agreement across regions is as important as forging a bipartisan deal and in the past, Conrad has done just thatThe SURE program, which is no longer in effect for 2012 crops, has drawn criticism from other Republicans on the Ag Committee, including Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who served as Secretary of Agriculture under President George WBush. 

We haven't gotten a response yet from Conrad's office on how much the new proposal would cost the federal governmentHere is how Conrad and Hoeven described it in a statement released today:

Bismarck – Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven met with agricultural and agribusiness leaders from across North Dakota today to detail bipartisan legislation they crafted that will maintain a critical safety net for North Dakota farmers and serve as a major component of a new Farm Bill.
"We are facing serious budget constraints that make the development of this new Farm Bill more challenging than anything we've seen in the past," Senator Conrad said "Senator Hoeven and I carefully crafted our legislation with the help of  North Dakota's producersThey told us that we need to maintain a strong crop insurance programThis legislation does just that while also contributing to deficit reduction."
“Producers throughout our state have been telling us that good crop insurance is the foundation of a strong farm safety net and their number one priority,” Hoeven said“That is just what we have worked to craft in this bipartisan legislation, which is the most cost-effective approach that will enable us to save money to help reduce the deficit, while providing our farmers and ranchers with strong support.”
Joined by more than 40 state agriculture leaders, the Senators detailed the Revenue Loss Assistance and Crop Insurance Enhancement Act of 2012, legislation they based on feedback they received from North Dakota producers in a series of meetings over the past year that is less complex, more defensible, and a more effective safety net program for farmers
Senators Conrad and Hoeven  — both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee — are working to get their proposals incorporated into the new Farm Bill It creates the Revenue Loss Assistance Program (RLAP), an initiative that combines Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance (SURE) and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) into one simpler and more effective program

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