Idaho farmers and ranchers produce more than 140 different commodities. As a lifelong Idahoan and through my previous work on the Senate Agriculture Committee, I know the challenges facing families who make their living from the land and feed the world’s population. Congress should enact responsible legislation that protects this crucial industry and allows it to grow. Agriculture is a mutli-billion dollar industry in Idaho and it is important for our farmers, ranchers, producers and growers that strong agriculture sector remain part of Idaho’s and America's economy.
Idaho’s agriculture community is influenced by a wide variety of factors that affect the costs of production. As a member of the Senate Finance and the Senate Banking Committees, I am able to advocate for the interests of Idaho’s agricultural community on important issues such as fair trade agreements and taxes. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, any trade agreements negotiated must be mutually beneficial and provide increased market access for U.S. products and commodities and reduced tariffs. To keep Idaho’s agriculture strong, I am focused as Chairman of the Banking Committee and a member of the Finance Committee on ensuring that our farmers and ranchers have can access credit and the tools to manage financial risk and promote incentives to expand the transportation networks supporting all aspects of production and harvest
The Farm Bill, which is typically reauthorized every five years and establishes our nation’s agriculture policy, offers prime opportunities to advance the needs of food producers in Idaho and across the country. Throughout my tenure in the U.S. Senate, I have advocated for strong Farm Bill provisions to ensure farmers and ranchers have a reasonable safety net to cope with the inherent risks associated with production agriculture. Additionally, I have championed Farm Bill provisions that meet the needs of key Idaho interests, including preservation of the U.S. sugar program, expanded research opportunities for specialty crops, and initiatives aimed at improving forest health. The Farm Bill also contains some of our nation’s primary conservation programs. Farmers depend on a healthy environment and providing the tools that preserve and enhance land and water resources have also been among my efforts to promote a thriving agriculture industry in Idaho.
Other key issues important to Idaho agriculture that I have been proud to work on and support include:
- Advocating that nutritious, Idaho-produced goods be eligible and remain a part of federal meal programs, including school lunches and assistance for low-income women and children.
- Supporting measures to provide consumers with more information on how their food is grown while ensuring our producers have the innovative tools they need to feed and clothe a growing nation and world.
- Promoting sound science guide all regulatory decisions impacting the development and use of new seed varieties and crop protection products.
- Pushing back against burdensome and duplicative federal regulations that drive up costs and paperwork requirements for agriculture producers.
It is important that we in Congress work together to advocate for Idaho’s agricultural community on issues and regulations that prevent or restrict land use and water. Efforts at the federal level to increase control over Idaho’s water or resources should be rebuffed. Further, Congress must ensure that any regulation effecting our agriculture sector is driven by sound science and not personal agenda. These are the factors that guide my work to strengthen Idaho’s agriculture industry.
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