Washington, D.C. – In an effort to put a face to the drought that is withering crops in South Dakota and across the country, and to highlight the importance of getting a Farm Bill done, Rep. Noem took to the House floor today to read excerpts of a letter from two South Dakota farmers. The letter, from a couple in Houghton, highlighted the significance of the safety net a Farm Bill provides, not just to them, but also to the security of their family farm that they hope to pass on to their sons. Earlier today, Rep. Noem also participated in a “Farm Bill Now” rally in Washington D.C. to call for action on a Farm Bill.
Thank you Madam Speaker. Today, I wanted to bring the attention to my colleagues, something that is of utmost importance to our country and to our food supply and to our nation’s farmers and ranchers. It’s the importance of getting a Farm Bill done. Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, and then farming for years with my family, I certainty recognize how volatile the agriculture industry is. Our producers invest in seed and fertilizer, they put it in the dirt, and they hope that in the fall they have the opportunity to come back and harvest something that will provide food for this country and for this nation. The crops that are grown are relied upon to fulfill the need we have in this country and across the world.
Farming is risky, but because growing our food is in the interest of our national security, we provide a safety net that keeps our farmers on the land in good times and in bad times. As you can see from these maps that I have here with me today, we are suffering through one of those tough times right now. Farmers can’t control Mother Nature. Our farmers are facing one of the worst droughts that we’ve seen in decades. You just have to talk to a veteran farmer today to hear them say that they haven’t seen an instance like this since probably the 30s where we have such widespread, long-standing drought that they are suffering through. It has a real impact on folks in rural America and the rest of America relies on that food to feed their families.
I want my colleagues to get a picture of just how important the Farm Bill is to this country and to people in the real world. While it may be easy to ignore the drought if you’re in Washington D.C. or in other parts of the country, when I go home every weekend and when I was home and traveling all across our state throughout August, it was everywhere around me.
Just yesterday, I had the chance to sit down with a couple of producers from South Dakota. Brent and Barb were here from Houghton, South Dakota, and it was evident to me that when I visited with them that their concern was more for the next generation than for getting through a couple of tough days right now. They spoke of their sons, the love they have for their land and the responsibility that they feel in feeding this country and making sure that we have a future where the United States can grow its own food to provide for its own people. They wrote me about what the Farm Bill means to them, and I wanted to read part of that letter to you.
“I know you share our feelings on the importance of the bill. It is not only necessary to us now, but also for our three sons who want to continue our farming operation which has been in our family for four generations. We are so thankful and proud that they want to return to the farm and we want to do all we can to provide them with the same opportunities we have had.
The crop insurance portion of the Farm Bill has truly helped us in the past as we have struggled with wet conditions over parts of the last 20 years. Because of excess moisture, there have been years when we farmed less than half of our total cropland. Now, the tables have turned and we are experiencing drought conditions in some areas of South Dakota and we will again be relying on crop insurance. It is so important to our family farming operation as a business. It has allowed us to stay in business through the tough years.
The safety net this Farm Bill would provide is crucial to not only rural farmers like us, but our state and country as a whole!”
Brent and Barb and other producers from across America are in town this week. They’re asking this House to take action on a Farm Bill to give them the certainty that they need to have confidence to plant next year’s crop. It will support both rural America, but also every single family that’s out there buying groceries today. Later this morning, I going to be joining them at a rally known as the “Farm Bill Now” rally, and I’ll be asking my colleagues to take action to pass a Farm Bill. We need to get that Farm Bill done to know what the policies are going to be in the next five years. It’s right for our producers, it’s right for our ranchers and farmers, it’s right for this country and for every family out there that wants to put food on the table that they can afford through these tough times.
With that Madame Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.