U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today issued the following statement on the bipartisan farm bill compromise that was negotiated between leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees. The House and Senate are expected to consider the compromise legislation in the lame duck session of Congress. Once approved by both chambers, the bill would head to the president for his signature.
“This farm bill is literally two years in the making,” said Thune. “I introduced my first farm bill proposal in early 2017 and spent more than a year drafting proposal after proposal, using ideas and suggestions from South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, to help lay the groundwork for the product Congress will soon consider. While there were significant policy differences between the House and Senate bills, it’s good to see negotiators, who I’ve been in communication with throughout this process, were able to reach an agreement. Getting a pro-agriculture, pro-farmer farm bill to the president has been the goal all along, and I’m glad we’re one step closer to delivering on it.”
Thune, who to date has introduced roughly 40 farm bill-related initiatives to reform and strengthen the farm bill, started introducing individual marker bills in March 2017, and they covered nearly every title of the overall farm bill. The Senate passed its version of the farm bill in June, which included one dozen Thune-authored provisions.
Highlights of Thune-Authored-and-Supported Provisions Included in the Bipartisan Compromise Bill:
- Provisions of Thune’s Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), which was included in S. 499 that he introduced in March 2017. SHIPP is a new voluntary income protection program that would provide participant farmers with a short-term acreage conserving use program, which unlike the traditional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), requires a commitment of only three to five years. SHIPP is authorized and funded as a pilot program at 50,000 acres in the six Prairie Pothole Region states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.
- Provisions of Thune’s bill (S. 1259), which would require that Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC)-County payments be calculated using the physical location of each farm’s tract of land instead of the current policy, which uses a farm’s administrative county to determine payments.
- Provisions of an amendment introduced by Thune and included in the Senate farm bill that would allow producers who are currently enrolled in ARC or PLC to change enrollment in 2021, which is not permitted under current law. This provision was expanded in the final farm bill to also include 2022 and 2023.
- Provisions of Thune’s bill (S. 909) to increase the CRP acreage cap. Thune proposed increasing it from 24 million to 30 million acres, and the final farm bill increased it to 27 million acres.
- Additional provisions of S. 909 that would target CRP acreage enrollment based on a state’s historical CRP acreage enrollment and allow greater flexibility and expanded haying and grazing options on land enrolled in CRP.
- Provisions of Thune’s bill (S. 1913) that would close additional loopholes in sodsaver provisions to further disincentivize producers for converting native sod to cropland in exchange for increased crop insurance indemnities.
- Provisions of Thune’s bill (S. 2936) that would provide tools and direction to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help improve the accuracy of the U.S. Drought Monitor and require the coordination of USDA agencies that use precipitation data to determine livestock grazing loss assistance and stocking rates.
Thune has served on the Agriculture Committee in both the House and Senate and is currently the only member of the South Dakota congressional delegation to serve on the committee. Thune has written three farm bills during his time in Congress, and the 2018 farm bill is his fourth. Agriculture is South Dakota’s top industry, with more than 43 million acres of agricultural land throughout the state.To learn more about Thune’s 2018 farm bill effort, please visit the farm bill section on www.thune.senate.gov.