Hoeven secures commitment from deputy agriculture secretary nominee to visit North Dakota

Staff Report
Devils Lake Journal
Senator John Hoeven

WASHINGTON – At a recent hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, the nominee to be Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to visit North Dakota and learn firsthand about Grand Farm, a project led by Emerging Prairie to develop and demonstrate the next generation of precision agriculture technology. Hoeven stressed the importance of initiatives like this in helping farmers reduce costs and improve yields.

Accordingly, the senator has been urging administration officials, including USDA Secretary Vilsack and Dr. Bronaugh, to advance the implementation of the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Program, which supports innovation clusters in rural regions. As the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee in the 116th Congress, Hoeven secured $5 million for RISE in Fiscal Years (FY) 2020 and 2021, paving the way for projects like Grand Farm.

“Grand Farm stands at the intersection of agriculture, which is a cornerstone of our state’s economy, and technology, the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth,” said Hoeven. “Considering the tremendous value that precision agriculture technology can bring to our farmers and ranchers, it makes sense to have USDA involved in this initiative. That’s why we funded the RISE program, prioritized projects like Grand Farm and have been working to get it implemented. We appreciate Dr. Bronaugh’s commitment to visit North Dakota and learn more about these efforts so that we can help ensure federal support for this important initiative.”

In addition, Hoeven again urged Bronaugh to work with him in advancing the following priorities for North Dakota producers:

Distributing assistance from the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) as soon as possible.

Hoeven is also pressing the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, to ensure USDA fully funds QLA. The senator previously secured an additional $1.5 billion for WHIP+ and QLA in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Ag Appropriations to meet producer demand for the programs.

Maintaining support for crop insurance, the primary risk management tool for many producers.

Safeguarding Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding for USDA to administer the programs required by the Farm Bill, like Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

Ensuring that any new carbon reduction programs are farmer-friendly and benefit producers directly.