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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 28, 2012, 06:13 PM

Heitkamp shows support for farm bill in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Senate hopeful Heidi Heitkamp made a stop in Fargo to talk about the farm bill with the Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow.

FARGO, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Senate hopeful Heidi Heitkamp made a stop in Fargo to talk about the farm bill with the Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Both Heitkamp and Stabenow say the farm bill that the Senate passed needs to be passed in the house and they will do what it takes to get that done.

Neither wants the possible one year extension.

Farmers from our area came together to talk with them on the importance of this bill. They say farmers can't risk something like this and with the drought nationwide, they say it's another reminder of the importance of disaster relief in the farm bill.

Heidi Heitkamp, U.S. Senate Candidate: “Twenty-three billion in reforms in the Senate bill. Why wait? So I think what you'd say is there's certainty, disaster relief and then looking at the parts that wouldn't be extended like the energy part which is so critical to bio-fuels and to the ethanol industry.”

The farmers Heitkamp met with say the passing of the Senate passed bill is vital to their livelihood.

Ellen Linderman farms 1500 acres of wheat, corn and soy beans in Carrington. She's in Fargo to show her support of the passing of the Senate’s Farm Bill.

Ellen Linderman, Carrington: “Simply because it provides a strong safety net in the form of a good crop insurance program, and it also provides a safety net to go along with the crop insurance program, and if we don't have that, if prices were to collapse the crop insurance would not provide the safety net that we need.”

Linderman says the nation is experiencing just how devastating the lack of rain has been on crops and without the passing of the bill, farmers will not have security in times like these.

Linderman: “It gives me the security to go into the bank in the spring borrow the money, and know that i will have something there if my crop fails and I don't have the money from the crop to pay back the banker.”

One land owner says if the bill is not passed or the current farm bill is not extended the amount of money he charges per acre for his farmland will plummet by next year.

Jake Gust, North Fargo: “The subsidies probably worth 50 to 60, 70 dollars an acre, it all depends. Commodity prices have just gone sky high.”

Retired farmer Jake Gust rents all 700 of his acres in North Fargo to corn and soybean growers. He says since he no longer farms this is his only income and without the farm bill he may have to go back to work.

Gust: “The people that are taking the losses this year, if it weren't for the existing farm program, a lot of farmers would be going bankrupt this year.”

The house has until September 30th to pass the bill or extend it, and all the farmers here today are hoping for the much needed relief so they can grow America’s food without worry for the next five years.

The House, under pressure to make a decision before it begins its summer recess, is expected to take up legislation next week to revive several expired disaster assistance programs.

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