North Dakota Gov. Hoeven Welcomes Ag Disaster Relief

October 14, 2004

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven this week said he welcomed news that Senate lawmakers in Washington have passed a comprehensive disaster bill, which will reportedly provide significant relief to farmers and ranchers in North Dakota suffering from drought and other weather related hardships, as well as to hurricane victims in Florida.

Hoeven issued a statewide farm disaster declaration this summer, and since then, has been lobbying both Congress and the Administration for agriculture disaster assistance.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s office contacted Hoeven on Monday to notify him of the bill’s success and to thank him for his leadership on the issue.

“Governor Hoeven spoke with me several times about the importance of this aid to the farmers and ranchers of North Dakota,” Frist said. “Through his leadership on the gubernatorial side, we were able to include agricultural disaster assistance in the bill.”

The legislation passed this week includes about $2.9 billion for drought and agriculture disaster relief. Other elements of the bill will also benefit North Dakota producers, according to Hoeven.

“Majority Leader Bill Frist has done an outstanding job not only for North Dakota, but for regions of our nation that have suffered from natural disasters this season,” Hoeven said. “I know the President is ready to sign the bill. They need to get it to him quickly so that our farmers and ranchers can get the relief they need as soon as possible.”

The Governor last week personally delivered a letter to Frist urging him and House Speaker Dennis Hastert to retain $3 billion in funding for agriculture disaster aid in pending House and Senate legislation. Hoeven’s letter was cosigned by Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Gov. Mike Johanns of Nebraska.

Hoeven last week also met with Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to press for their support for the legislation.

In addition, the Governor spoke with Chuck Conner, special agriculture advisor to the President, and asked the administration to support the legislation, which will fund programs like the Crop Disaster Loss Program and the Livestock Assistance Program.

“Our farmers and ranchers have faced drought, they’ve had their crops washed out and they’ve suffered an early frost,” Hoeven said. “They need this assistance and we’ve worked hard to get it for them. Now we’re seeing the much needed results of that effort.”

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