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Policy and Politics

Heitkamp named top Dem on Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp today announced that this Congress she will serve as the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade. The subcommittee oversees the Agriculture Committee’s work on production agriculture, including commodity programs, crop insurance, commodity exchanges, agricultural trade, international food assistance, and credit.

Heitkamp will help lead the subcommittee alongside Chairman John Boozman of Arkansas. Heitkamp and Boozman have worked together extensively in the past to help American producers and support good-paying American jobs by expanding U.S. agricultural exports.

Earlier this month, Heitkamp and Boozman reintroduced their bipartisan bill to accomplish that goal by lifting restrictions on private financing for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba. The biggest barrier for North Dakota farmers as they seek access to Cuba is a prohibition on providing private credit for those exports. Heitkamp and Boozman first introduced their bipartisan Agricultural Export Expansion Act in April 2015.

“Going into 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, helping lead this subcommittee positions me to tackle top issues for North Dakota farmers and ranchers — like protecting the safety net and promoting export opportunities that our producers rely on,” said Heitkamp. “Senator Boozman and I have fought together in the past to expand U.S. agriculture exports, which support our farmers and good-paying American jobs, and I’ll build on that relationship in this subcommittee. Fighting for a robust Farm Bill is my top priority right now in the U.S. Senate. On this subcommittee, I’ll continue to be a strong voice for North Dakota producers in defending crop insurance and boosting exports of our high quality products, while also making sure futures markets work for our ranchers and credit is available to help producers feed North Dakota and the world.” 

Agencies the subcommittee oversees include the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Farm Credit Administration—all key agencies for North Dakota farmers and ranchers.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture since she joined the Senate, Heitkamp helped write, negotiate, and pass the 2014 Farm Bill. Heitkamp has also worked to implement and protect the Farm Bill so it works for North Dakota producers.

In August 2016, Heitkamp began laying the groundwork for a robust 2018 Farm Bill with a two-day tour across North Dakota, meeting with farmers, researchers, and other agriculture leaders in the field to get their feedback ahead of the upcoming Farm Bill negotiations.

The subcommittee will also give Heitkamp a chance to continue her work addressing volatility in the cattle futures market. Last spring, Heitkamp brought together ranchers from across southwestern North Dakota for a Cattle Forum she hosted to take on low cattle prices and volatility in the cattle markets. Shortly afterward, Heitkamp shared their feedback with the Senate Agriculture Committee at a hearing she requested to address challenges in the livestock industry, and brought a Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioner to North Dakota in July 2016 to talk about agricultural and energy issues in Dickinson.

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