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Chair Cheri Bustos Opening Statement at Hearing to Review Farm Policy with Undersecretary Robert Bonnie

WASHINGTON House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chair Cheri Bustos delivered the following statement at today's hearing titled “A Hearing to Review Farm Policy with Undersecretary Robert Bonnie.”

[As prepared for delivery]

Today’s hearing to review farm policy with USDA’s Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Robert Bonnie, is an important opportunity for Members of this Subcommittee to share with USDA what our farmers back home are experiencing as well as to hear updates on the status of programs under our jurisdiction.

During the past year, this Subcommittee has held a series of sessions, listening to our important stakeholders so we can keep a pulse on what’s happening on the ground, in farm country.

We have held a hearing with a group of farmers, a crop insurance agent, and an ag economist to get a better understanding of how our farm safety net programs are working.

What we learn from those is critically important as we evaluate how programs are working.

We know that the pandemic has continued to impact all of society, including supply chain disruptions that have led to higher input costs for farmers.

And farmers across the country have been experiencing more and more extreme weather events; a polar vortex, historic drought, multiple hurricanes, and tornados, in December no less.

There are a variety of critical programs designed to help farmers through tough times.

I hear through pretty much every ag meeting I have how important the Federal crop insurance program is to help farmers manage their risk.

Congress has also provided significant disaster funding to provide additional support for producers hit by extreme weather, funding for which was requested by the Biden Administration last September.

And commodity programs like ARC, PLC, and marketing assistance loans have been important safety net options for producers, with several enhancements to those programs made in the last farm bill.

And just yesterday, Secretary Vilsack announced an important new initiative, the Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities which will help develop new marketing opportunities for farmers.

Undersecretary Bonnie, I look forward to hearing your testimony and getting a sense of what you’ve been hearing and how programs you oversee are working to address the economic and growing conditions farmers have been experiencing.

I would now like to welcome the distinguished Ranking Member, the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Austin Scott, for any opening remarks he would like to give. 

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