Bi-Partisan Remarks from the Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Hearing, Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Committee Ranking Member, Pat Roberts (R., Kans.)- While we’re here to discuss other matters, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment about the President’s budget announcement this week. I was very disappointed to see yet again, I might add, a proposal that cuts nearly $8 billion out of the crop insurance program. Madame Chairman, this is the number one issue that we have heard about in every hearing we’ve had in regard to what farmers need and what they rely on. This is on top of the $6 billion cut from the previous SRA [Standard Reinsurance Agreement].
Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.)- But in all of that, we placed at a cornerstone crop insurance. And as Senator Roberts had mentioned, we’ve heard across the country from our field hearings in Michigan to Kansas to people coming in and speaking with us here how critical crop insurance is. So we need you to speak to the President’s proposals and cuts in farm programs and I’m particularly concerned about crop insurance.
Former Secretary of Agriculture, Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.)- I look at the risk management aspect which essentially is crop insurance. And overwhelmingly, producers are telling me — not only from Nebraska but when I visit with producers around the country that they think risk management is really the key issue of the next Farm Bill and they like — by and large, like crop insurance.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.)- I just wanted to echo some of the comments from my colleagues about the concerns on crop insurance.
Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.)- I just want to start off with a couple of comments regarding the President’s budget relative to the Farm Bill. First, I want to echo my concern. You’ve heard it from the others here today and that’s crop insurance. Everybody, you know, throughout our state, all the producers are telling us that crop insurance is absolutely the number one priority, number one.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.)- Senator Hoeven’s comments on crop insurance, I think we all share his view there…
Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.)- I would echo what’s been said by most of my colleagues with regard to the number one priority of South Dakotan in the Farm Bill is a strong crop insurance program. By hands down, it’s what the people want to see maintained, it’s the thing that they’re most concerned with and that is that we have a good risk management tool available to them. And that’s not the only priority we have in the next Farm Bill, but that certainly I think is the most important in terms of the people that I represent.