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Hoeven reviews $1.5B in disaster funding with ND producers, ag leaders

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FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today brought together North Dakota producers, agriculture leaders and officials from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to discuss the additional disaster assistance he secured for farmers impacted by severe weather. Hoeven advanced the measures as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Agriculture Appropriations legislation that was passed and signed into law last week. Specifically, Hoeven ensured the legislation:

· Provides $1.5 billion in disaster assistance, which is being reprogrammed from unspent FY2017 disaster funding. This funding is in addition to the $3 billion in disaster assistance approved by Congress in May.

· Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to make disaster payments to eligible sugar cooperatives.

· Expands program eligibility to cover quality losses, in addition to production losses.

· Clarifies eligible disaster events by including losses related to excess moisture and D3 drought.

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“With everything our farmers are working to overcome, this additional $1.5 billion in disaster assistance is an important step in providing certainty and helping them maintain their operations,” said Hoeven. “Our efforts in the Agriculture Appropriations bill were all about ensuring there was enough funding in place to help our farmers recover. Further, we worked to provide broad enough coverage to help producers with the wide range of challenges they face, from excessive moisture affecting grains to sugar beets frozen in the ground.”

FY2020 Agriculture Priorities

In addition to the disaster provisions, Hoeven worked to ensure the bill funds important risk management tools and agriculture programs, including:

· Crop insurance.

· Implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

· Full funding for direct, guaranteed and emergency loans.

· Hoeven’s Water Bank Initiative.

· Funding for the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant Program (RISE) and the Agriculture Innovation Center Program (AIC) which will support the development of rural broadband and precision agriculture, including at Grand Farm.

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· Agriculture research conducted under the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), including research to benefit wheat, barley, pulse crops, sugar beets, alfalfa, potatoes, small grains, livestock and the development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) applications in precision agriculture.

Click here for fact sheet on the disaster assistance. Click here for additional agriculture priorities Senator Hoeven secured in FY2020.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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