What to expect from DC as western producers recover from both the pandemic and historic drought

The ongoing drought was a big topic of conversation among North Dakota producers as they met with lawmakers for an ag summit.

Disaster aid for the ongoing drought in western states continues to be a top concern for producers, but Sen. John Hoeven says that relief is on its way fro drought, flooding, and derecho storm damage.

“We’ve secured about $10 billion dollars for disaster assistance, and there’s two components to that. First, on the crop side, $9.25 billion, which will go out in the WHIP+ format and that will be for both crop years, 2020 and 2021. So, that’s a program that you know about and have worked with before,” Hoeven states.

He hopes to hold roundtables in November to hear more about how the disaster aid should be structured.

“On livestock piece, there’s $750 billion dollars that were not prescriptive in terms of the legislation that is prescriptive in how it’s provided. So, we will now work with USDA to deliver that funding for our ranchers,” he explains.

Sen. Kevin Cramer also told the group that the EPA has been responsive to his concerns about the Waters of the U.S. rule making process and their goal to make it a more sustainable rule than previous administrators.

“What they mean by that is one that can sustain Supreme Court litigation, but just because it might be sustainable doesn’t still mean that it will be good. But, in that process, one of the most important things, and things that previous administrations have done, is take a lot of good evidence and testimony from stakeholders,” Sen. Cramer adds.

Representative Kelly Armstrong also acknowledged the rising cost of inputs and said that it is an issue he is working to address: “We’ve seen stronger markets right now. USMCA has actually go a lot of really good things for particularly North Dakota ag borders opening up right now, but what we can’t do is have all of these increased inputs, whether that’s interpretation, fertilizer, just the inflationary trends that are moving forward because coming out of this year, particularly with the drought we’ve suffered.”

Armstrong has also introduced legislation to create a “Rural Export Center” to provide technical assistance to producers looking to tap into international markets.


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