Cochran, USDA organize farm bill, crop insurance listening sessions

USDA, staff with the Senate Agriculture Committee and the office of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will be available at two listening sessions at which agriculture producers in Mississippi can provide input and ask questions about new programs authorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Cochran staff, USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis and Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini will be available during the listening sessions in Stoneville and Verona, Miss., on Oct. 29.

“I want to ensure that our producers remain well-positioned to meet the needs of our nation and a growing world population,” Cochran said. “Agriculture is critically important to our state’s economy, and throughout my time in Congress I have worked to improve programs for farmers. One way to facilitate program improvement is to provide producers the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who administer farm and risk management programs.”

A morning listening session is scheduled for 9 to 11 am, Oct. 29, at the Delta Research & Extension Center (Capps Center) in Stoneville. The second session is slated for 3 to 5 p.m. at the North Mississippi Research & Extension Center (conference room) in Verona.

Cochran, ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition Committee, structured the meetings to receive additional input — and offer information to producers — as USDA continues its implementation of a new suite of commodity and risk management programs administered by FSA and RMA.

Farmers, ranchers, county representatives and interested citizens are encouraged to participate and ask USDA officials about new and existing risk management tools, and to offer guidance on where USDA efforts should be focused going forward.

“I am pleased that USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis and Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini will be in Mississippi to discuss the new farm bill programs and potential improvements to the federal crop insurance program.” Cochran said. “These new commodity programs along with the new and existing federal crop insurance programs are important risk management tools for farmers and ranchers nationwide. Input from producers in Mississippi will be valuable as we strive to ensure that these risk management programs are effective.”

As ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Cochran was a principal negotiator this year on the bipartisan and bicameral conference committee that was tasked with bringing together two very different versions of the farm bill passed by the House and Senate. The enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014 culminated years of hearings, debate and negotiations to develop a new five-year law to improve on the 2008 farm bill.

For more information regarding the listening sessions, contact Chris Gallegos at (202) 224-5054 or [email protected].

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