Sen. Conrad, Hoeven Unveil Farm Bill Proposal

Input from Dakota producers was ley in putting together the plan, the senators say.

Published on: Apr 13, 2012

Senators Kent Conrad (D) and John Hoeven (R) are among 40 legislators who are proposing a new Farm Bill.

The lawmakers are calling it the "Revenue Loss Assistance and Crop Insurance Enhancement Act of 2012, or RLAP.  It combines Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance (SURE) and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) into what they say is one simpler and more effective program.

RLAP would work in conjunction with crop insurance to provide coverage for losses between 12 and 25% of their average historic revenue.  An eligible loss can be due to any combination of decreased yields, declining prices or quality discounts.  RLAP would be based on individual farm performance, rather than an area trigger, and assistance would be provided on a commodity specific basis. 

Sen. Conrad, Hoeven Unveil Farm Bill Proposal
Sen. Conrad, Hoeven Unveil Farm Bill Proposal

RLAP would also provide assistance for farmers who suffered losses on acres planted for harvest at a 65% payment rate.  For acreage that was unable to be planted due to adverse weather, the payment rate would be 45%. Total acreage covered under RLAP for a producer will not be able to exceed that producer's total base acres.

The legislation would also establish a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), along with other improvements to crop insurance.  SCO will allow producers to obtain area-wide federal crop insurance coverage in addition to the individual coverage they currently purchase.

In addition, the new legislation extends the SURE Programs for crops for the 2012 crop year with a modification to expedite crop revenue loss payments by about one year. 

The new legislation also would permanently extend the three livestock disaster programs and the Tree Assistance Program authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Finally, the legislation would continue, with minor modifications, the current commodity marketing loan program and counter-cyclical program while ending the direct payment and Average Crop Revenue Election programs beginning with the 2013 crop.   

Sens. Conrad and Hoeven say they RLAP would maintain the critical safety net for North Dakota farmers and serve as a major component of a new Farm Bill.

"Senator Hoeven and I carefully crafted our legislation with the help of  North Dakota's producers. They told us that we need to maintain a strong crop insurance program. This legislation does just that while also contributing to deficit reduction," says Sen. Conrad.

"Producers throughout our state have been telling us that good crop insurance is the foundation of a strong farm safety net and their number one priority," Sen. Hoeven says. "That is just what we have worked to craft in this bipartisan legislation, which is the most cost-effective approach that will enable us to save money to help reduce the deficit, while providing our farmers and ranchers with strong support."

Senators Conrad and Hoeven are both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Source: Sen. Kent Conrad's office