North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said he's happy all three members of North Dakota’s Congressional delegation will be involved with the negotiations over a new farm bill.
"I don't know if it has happened in history that our entire North Dakota delegation will be serving in some capacity as conferees," Goehring said. "It's gonna be good."
Goehring said teh delegation brings a lot of knowledge to the table, as well as a perspective from a farm state.
"It covers a lot of things," Goehring said.
Goehring said he has some concerns about the provisions for the Conservation Reserve program. He said in one version of the bill, the amount of CRP acres would go from 24 million to 25 million, while in the other version it goes to 29 million. And Goehring said a provision was put in one of the bills to allow “permanent easements.”
"It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem," Goehring said.
Goehring said it’s not fair to rural communities – or to agriculture’s responsibilities to utilize the resources to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel. And he said it potentially sets up a bidding war between the federal government and young farmers just starting out.
"One of the biggest things I hear from young producers is, 'Please, don't increase CRP," Goehring said. "It has a direct impact on young farmers and ranchers trying to compete for land, so that they can stay viable in this farm economy."
Goehring said from his perspective, the farm bill this time will likely continue what worked from the 2014 bill, with some tweaks, but there’s more work to do, especially in the areas of crop insurance and risk management.
"We need some good backstop," Goehring said. "Can we get it now? I'm not sure. We're just going to have to get together and work on it, and come up with some solutions."
Goehring said he's pleased the conference committee wants to finish its work by the end of September. The current farm bill expires Oct. first.