Nearly 50 North Dakotans will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., next week to focus attention on the 2018 farm bill. They will join family farmers and ranchers from across the country as participants in National Farmers Union’s Legislative Fly-in, Sept. 10-13.

North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) President Mark Watne said the poor farm economy, drought and need for a stronger safety net will be emphasized, as well as rising health care costs and the need to expand ethanol production.

“We’re struggling in farm country,” Watne said. “Low commodity prices and rising input costs continue to impact our bottom lines. There are a lot of economic factors out of our control, too, everything from currency fluctuations to global trade uncertainty to corporate ag consolidations.”

Watne said he will be hand-delivering comments to North Dakota’s congressional delegation that were gathered at farm bill listening sessions held across the state in July. “We felt it important to capture the thoughts of people most affected by the farm bill – family farmers, ranchers and rural citizens,” he said.

“Producers want a safety net without holes. They want the federal crop insurance program strengthened and farm programs that work, especially during low commodity price cycles,” he said. Price support levels need to be reevaluated in a new farm bill, he emphasized, so farm programs serve their purpose of stabilizing farm income.

Farmers Union members will also be meeting with USDA officials and members of the House and Senate Ag Committees in their three-day lobbying effort.