Aberdeen, SD – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) brought together Risk Management Agency Regional Director Doug Hagel and local agricultural leaders in Aberdeen for the final stop in a series of farm bill listening sessions in the state to hear their input for the rewrite of the legislation. In addition to highlighting the results from his farm bill survey, Johnson discussed the flooding of recent years and the importance of crop insurance as the reauthorization process gets underway in Washington.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our state. As the legislative process gets underway in Washington, it’s important to hear from South Dakotans about ways the current farm bill can be improved. It’s clear that changes must be made in order for family farms and ranches to better compete with large corporations. We need stronger payment limitations, an effective safety net for producers, and better Country of Origin Labeling in grocery stores,” said Johnson.
Johnson was joined today by Hal Clemensen, President, Wheat Growers Board of Directors; Troy Knecht, producer, family farming operation; Lynda Weidebush, American Trust Insurance; Tom Fischbach, local farmer and Brown County Commissioner; Kim Schneider, Insurance Plus and Gerald Jasmer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Resource Conservationist.
Earlier this year, Johnson joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in introducing The Rural America Preservation Act of 2011 to keep focus on the need to set a hard cap for payment limitations and close loopholes that are used to game the system. The legislation will cap total farm payments at $250,000 for married couples to better target farm program payments to family farmers. Johnson has been working to incorporate this approach, which would save the treasury more than $1 billion over 10 years, included in the rewrite of the farm bill.
More than 1,000 people shared their input with Johnson through the farm bill survey and he will be forwarding the results to the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Johnson continues to accept farm bill surveys from across South Dakota. The document can be downloaded from the Senator’s website or submitted online at http://johnson.senate.gov.