North Dakota Producers Meet to Discuss Looming Farm Bill

Bismarck - North Dakota producers are facing tough times ahead.

And some say support programs funded through the national farm bill are more important than ever.

Top agriculture officials don't want help for producers to stop with the drought.

"How we're reacting in the farm program in this drought will inform what we do in the next farm bill," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) says.

Producers are looking ahead to the next farm bill to see just how much support will come from Congress.

Heitkamp says providing clarity about what assistance will be available in the future is crucial.

"We have to get certain and we have to get answers, now," Heitkamp says.

Questions like whether or not the crop insurance many North Dakota farmers rely on will be cut.

"There have been reports to that effect that crop insurance would be cut and that would be devastating to us," Arvin Larson, U.S. Durum Growers says.

Larson says ensuring crop insurance will be available is important, especially for young producers who are just starting out.

"The decisions that they're making on what they're going to do with their herds this year are dependent on how they understand the assistance that they might get in these programs," Heitkamp says.

For those in the hardest hit areas, it's too late for this season's crop.
But, they say programs like crop insurance are worth investing in.

"Crop insurance and the way it sits today is a very good program a good risk management program," Dale Ihry, North Dakota Corn Growers says.

 A program producers say is essential to keeping farmers and ranchers on the land.

Changes to the farm bill are already being discussed by members of Congress.
The current farm bill is set to expire in 2018.

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