Farm bill forums helped educate members
Over 200 people attended the North Dakota Farmers Union farm bill discussions held at six different locations throughout the state from July 10-12. Panelists included Scott Stofferahn, state director for Senator Conrad; Tom Brusegaard, state director for Senator Hoeven; and Bob Christman, state director for Congressman Rick Berg. North Dakota Farmers Union President Elwood “Woody” Barth served as moderator.
At each session, Barth gave a short overview. He said, “The U.S. Senate’s version of the new farm bill looks promising. We still need a stronger mechanism if commodity prices drop but we’re optimistic that the farm bill will be something that will be good for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota.”
The main purpose of each forum was to share information about the farm bill. The legislation sets the agricultural and food policy for the United States every five years. The current bill expires in September. It includes titles on commodity programs, international trade, rural development, credit, conservation, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs and marketing.
Brusegaard explained that the farm bill makes up one-quarter of one percent of the federal budget. “It’s tough to find something that works for all but we need to continue to work together.”
“We really need Congress to act on it before the current law is up in September. The sooner they pass the new bill, the better off agriculture will be. Timing is really critical,” added Stofferahn.
Christman pointed out that the wheat farmers would especially like the farm bill passed before the August recess so they know what to expect before planting winter wheat.
“Overall, we were very pleased with the turnout of the farm bill discussions. They provided a way for producers to voice their concerns as well as seek information about the upcoming farm bill from the panelists,” commented Barth.
The discussions were held in Flasher, Belfield, Kenmare, McClusky, Binford and Wahpeton. A complimentary meal was served at each location.