The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Conrad proposes combination of ACRE and SURE

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., unveiled his own commodity title Monday at events in North Dakota, his office said in a news release.

Conrad’s concept involves a shallow-loss revenue proposal that combines the average crop revenue election program known as ACRE and the disaster program known as SURE that he and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., wrote into the 2008 farm bill.

The one program is “designed to be easier to understand and administer than the current crop insurance program,” the news release said. “It will also make payments in a much more timely manner, which has been a complaint of ACRE and SURE.”

“The number one message that I’ve have heard from producers thus far is that we need to maintain a strong crop insurance program,” Conrad said. “The new program I’m proposing will compliment crop insurance, without duplicating or undermining it, by providing some protection from shallow losses that crop insurance typically does not cover.”

Conrad laid out a strategy for the development of a new farm bill in remarks at both the Precision Agriculture Summit hosted by the Red River Valley Research Corridor and the North Dakota Farmers Union in Jamestown and North Dakota State University's Crop Insurance Conference. At those events, Conrad called the latest farm bill negotiations “some of the most challenging — and critical — of his career,” the news release said.

The statement did not explain how Conrad’s program would differ from the one included in the farm program that House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., sent to the failed supercommittee on deficit reduction.

But Conrad said he “would introduce legislation in the near future to provide a less complex, more defensible, and more effective safety net program for farmers,” the release said.

The news release did not mention the divisions among commodity producers over a new program, but said that Conrad expressed concern that “powerful media outlets on the east and west coasts, along with opponents of government programs, have downplayed the vital role production agriculture plays to the health of the nation and have been unfairly critical of federal farm programs.”