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Published April 20, 2011, 04:52 PM

Conrad readies strategy for next farm bill

BISMARCK – Senator Kent Conrad convened a meeting today of his North Dakota Agriculture Advisory Committee to continue to lay out priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill. Senator Conrad — a senior member of the Agriculture Committee – noted that the current Farm Bill is widely viewed as a significant success for the state.

BISMARCK – Senator Kent Conrad convened a meeting today of his North Dakota Agriculture Advisory Committee to continue to lay out priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill. Senator Conrad — a senior member of the Agriculture Committee – noted that the current Farm Bill is widely viewed as a significant success for the state.

"The nation's tenuous fiscal condition will likely make development of the next farm bill among the most challenging in history," Senator Conrad said. "Establishing common objectives and priorities early on is an important step in ensuring another Farm Bill that benefits North Dakota's family farmers.”

The Senator's Advisory Committee — made up of agriculture stakeholders from across the state — detailed priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill including:

-Ensuring an adequate safety net for producers recognizing that current high commodity prices may not last and the fact that producers have also faced rapidly rising farm input costs;

-Providing adequate funding for crop insurance and conservation programs to maintain North Dakota's agricultural resource base and address specific environmental challenges in rural America;

-Reducing program complexity and overlap to improve program efficiency, implementation and the delivery of benefits; and

-Continuing to promote the expansion of renewable energy production.

The Senator also announced that he is teaming up with North Dakota State University's Center for Agricultural Policy and Trade Studies to host a conference on the Farm Bill later this year. The two day conference, entitled "2012 Farm Policy: Issues and Challenges," will be held on November 7 - 8, in Fargo and will feature nationally renowned experts on agricultural policy and trade.

"We are bringing together agriculture experts from around the nation to discuss world trade, bio-energy production, changes in the agricultural industry and policy options for the next Farm Bill," Senator Conrad said. "I encourage all agriculture stakeholders to consider attending this conference, as this discussion will be very important to developing a new Farm Bill that continues to work for our producers and communities here in North Dakota."

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