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Chair Cheri Bustos Opening Statement at Hearing to Review the Efficacy of the Farm Safety Net

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 the Efficacy of the Farm Safety Net.”

[As prepared for delivery]

 Thank you to all the witnesses and my colleagues for joining us here today.

I am excited to chair this subcommittee this Congress and to work with my colleagues to dive into how weather and economic conditions impact our farmers and how safety net programs are functioning to help them through tough times.

We have heard time and again how critical crop insurance is as a risk management tool for farmers, and how necessary Title 1 farm programs are to address market and production challenges.

We have a great panel of witnesses here today, including several farmers who will talk about production and weather conditions in recent years, a crop insurance agent who will give an overview of how the program works and an ag economist who will give us insight on the state of the farm economy and considerations for the safety net.

This is an important hearing to get input from you about how 2018 Farm Bill programs are working and to get a better understanding of what is happening in the countryside.

We are interested to hear more about the considerations given in signing up to ARC or PLC, and how changes we made to those programs have worked for growers. And in particular, we want to hear about how crop insurance has kicked in in times of need.

Building up to this hearing, I’ve held a series of meetings with stakeholders and have led roundtables with this Subcommittee to hear Members’ priorities as well as to get input from national farm organizations.

In addition to hearing from this panel today, we intend to hold additional hearings to help inform this Subcommittee on the impacts of the dire drought conditions affecting much of the West, Upper Great Plains, and Midwest, as well as to understand how other severe weather events this year have affected farmers.

The information we gather from you today and in future hearings is critically important in our work to ensure that help is there when times are tough and when disasters strike.

I’d 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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