tv Agriculture Secretary Perdue Testifies on 2020 Budget Request CSPAN April 11, 2019 8:01pm-9:31pm EDT
hearing. then senators debate the nomination of david bernhardt who was confirmed today as the next secretary of interior. later, senate commerce looks at ways to regulate robo calls. agricultural secretary sonny perdue was on capitol hill to testify on the president's 2020 budget request. he also talked about the impacts of tariffs on agriculture and industry in the trade agreement between us and mexico. when asked about the southern border secretary produce pushback on the idea of closing the border and suggested by the president warning it would be detrimental to us commerce. >> we will call this hearing to order. i'd like to invite or think our
agriculture secretary for being here this morning. secretary perdue, we appreciate you being here before the committee and also doctor johansson thank you as well. thank you very much for joining us. today the purpose of today's hearing is to discuss the fiscal 2020 budget request and i hope this discussion will clarify the ministrations support for rural america and production agriculture. reduction would directly impact small rural communities many of us call home. production agriculture is the cornerstone of our local rural economies and weakening the farm safety network that leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable to low commodity prices and weather conditions and right now they are both.
farmers and ranchers in our state and across the adult like the department's tools and resources to stay in business during this tumultuous times. cutting the research will hurt our country. ag remains one of the most net export interest due to open trade and we must continue to explore foreign market access for our producers and expand trade. i support many proposals included in the president's budget, such as increased funding for our military and defense, the burden of bouncing the budget cannot be placed on the backs of farmers, rural communities and recipients. in our fiscal year 2019 ag appropriation bill the subcommittee made great strides towards modernizing into structure in rural america, increasing running for ag research programs, enhancing
past and disease prevention and response efforts. i'll afford to hearing an update on the apartment plans for a limitation of these priorities. i believe we should be investing in the future of agriculture and rural america. the chairman i look forward to working with senator merkley and other members of the subcommittee to invite those priorities and make the most effective and efficient decisions on behalf of of the american taxpayers but i look forward to discussing these issues today with you, mr. secretary in your team. i also want to thank you for your commitment and advocacy on behalf of other farmers and ranchers having grown up in agriculture i know that you not only know about farming and ranching and have lived at your whole life. i appreciated your commitment and responsiveness but no question our producers face challenges right now. whether it is in trade or flooding like we've talked about low come price for full range of
issues and the whole purpose of our farm is to be cyclical and save money and the times but to make sure were there for them when they need us. i look forward to working not only with committee but we do. i appreciate our working relationship working with your team to craft the best budget we can for our farmers and ranchers. and be as responsive as we can and in that regard i appreciate your willingness to be responsive just as you are here today working with us on this budget. with that, i will turn to vice chairman senator merkley. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. secretary perdue, welcome. you do have you here. doctor johansson, mrs. navarro we appreciate you coming to discuss the president's budget proposal for the apartment of agriculture and mr. secretary i very much enjoyed working with you and i do not particularly enjoy reading the budget and it
has a lot in it that is significant to the agricultural economy and to rural america in general and i'll be interested in hearing your thoughts and comments. really debating in congress much-needed disaster systems element to much of our agricultural community across country and the bill includes organs wine grape growers who have had their grapes affected by the forest fires because of the smoke contamination. i hope to get this disaster bill passed quickly. the budget looks similar to the budget from last year and the recent passage of fiscal year 2019 on the bus congress differed and changed much of what was proposed. yet the ministration once again proposing to illuminate or reduce funding for many of the agencies at usda.
not spending for usda is cut by than $4 billion and that's a 22% cut why their rural economy continues to struggle. i'm afraid this budget is enacted the way what it would do more harm than good. the budget decimates rural development and i go around my state, 36 counties every year and hold an open town hall by the end of this year i'll have 400 tunnels and selected and the circumstances of economic involvement in rural is much of the country and facing a lot of challenges as our as a change. to see is a service limited and that concerns me a lot. research cut by acting present in the farm surgeon agency by 80% and important nutrition programs limited and automation of the food for peace and government role. no agency is spared.
usda does import work that impacts every life in america and this budget doesn't reflect that important mission. i also have concerns about the proposal to move to vital research agencies, economic research service, and the national institute for food and add outside the capital region. i'm also particularly concerned about the snap rule. i joined a bipartisan group of 47 senators who asked to withdraw this and maybe we can have more conversation about that. i believe a budget is reduction of demonstrations priorities and concerned that our farmers and ranchers and rural community are not a priority i would like him to be so i am able we can discuss these issues and work on this committee as we did a year
ago to make sure the vital programs much-needed across america to meet tougher aid effectively. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator merkley. any other opening statements? then we will proceed, mr. secretary, thank you for being here and we welcome your statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ranking member senator merkley and distinguished numbers of the committee. again, it's appreciated a great village to visit with you and talk about appropriations. i would begin because some of the comparisons of the enacted budget which was just whistling past occurred after the ministration put the budget together. i think it would help all of us and i know you all would like to as well get back to regular order of top line numbers and other budget authorizations and others committee and others. to some degree we have handcuffed ourselves in these comparisons but i certainly appreciate many of the comments
you made and certainly concur with many of them i think together we will get a budget out and benefit the rural america and are at the company. that is our goal is to go. we appreciate the effort here and i hope you recognize we are doing our best to be responsive to you in many ways as the people's elected percentages here obviously our founders created a natural tension between the appropriators and lawmakers as well as executive branch and we really welcome that in the candid discussion of how we implement the laws of the past including the farm bill is all with the appropriation you deemed are most needed and effective. we are striving as was said before in usda to become the most effective and efficient in the most customer focused agency in the federal government in dealing with your constituents.
i hope you have noticed a difference and if we fall short then we hope you will identify those for us. mention the disaster bill and that is a concern and hopefully we can reconcile our differences quickly about that and producers all over the country now who are from the fire ravaged areas of the west that senator merkley discussed in the hurricanes of florida, georgia and the carolinas and the floods of the midwest that are in desperate need of farm safety you upgraded to the farm bill and through appropriations in the past is a safety net but it does not like utter destruction and disasters such as we have seen in these situations so i appreciate very much your recognition of that. obviously, trade is the utmost from all of our minds and from a farmer producer perspective and from one perspective we are
blessed at the station that is absolute food security germany to the national security but that makes us dependent on experts and agriculture being one of our exports surplus sectors on the economy and the trade disruptions of 2018 have been very problematic through producers and while we the president authorized and we implemented a mark program that helped producers in some places in every producer other would rather have a good trade, fair trading environment than any aid in that regard. we do not integrate any of that earlier or this year anymore help. hopefully with the talks continuing between china and the us and we can hopefully consummate a very good trade deal in the near future obviously, ambassador lighthizer
is engaged in japan so for the trade issues continues to be paramount as we continue to bring down those barriers and seek expert opportunities and odyssey are undersecretary of foreign and service, ted mckinney, is circling the globe looking for new markets and we become too dependent on one large customer is willing throughout and no china and india and other places there that we may sell our products, as well. certainly, if a sector is important in ag and you all understand that in broadband particularly being almost the utility of the 21st century and we appreciate the funding you have given everett you want to do a proof concept that will make you proud over this six and a million-dollar appropriate last year as well as 550 this year and these abkhazians will begin being received here in a couple of weeks and there's been interest from all across the country there over broadband
connectivity and it has influence and certainly precision agriculture as well as many other areas. regarding the budget report to your questions and we will address those as they come up probably more profitably then generally and we work hard on farm bill imitation as well and i look forward to discussing obviously the ministration is a constitutional ability to present a budget fiscally responsible and no longer puts tough decisions and while at usda we want to support our ag and rural communities we are willing to do our part in whatever it takes. thank you for the opportunity to be with you this morning and report your questions and hope you will find we are doing our best to live up to our motto and the usda to do right and beat everyone. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. secretary do any of your associates have opening questions comments
before we proceed to questions? okay. we'll go to five-minute rounds of question. that start entrée. give us latest in terms of your estimate of where we are with not only getting you as the and a to the floor and i believe that's a good agreement we need to get ratified as soon as you can as far as ability to export and trade with canada and mexico but then also with china and you mentioned japan, eu and any others. where are we in terms of getting something and i know you can't say precisely but give us as much information as you can in the course incredible interest and concern for our farmers because of their need to export but also additional sales, too. the market stabilization payment was helpful but we are now in year two and need some of these sales and so while we are negotiating what about additional sales? if you could whatever information you can in that
regard. >> with begin with us mca. no trade agreement is perfect i believe if you go chapter by chapter, verse by verse of this agreement i do believe from labor environment and certainly ag it is an impairment over our nafta 1.0 and i think if people are objective and looking at that they will recognize that and hopefully do that. idc report, i think, is due out eminently and that will allow you all to begin to consider it seriously and i would hope we could do that sooner rather than later and that is the statement to the world that we are serious about our trade negotiations but hopefully we can do that. obviously, one sector probably in seasonal fruit and produce where we were not able to get what we wanted is on the table and ambassador lighthizer fought hard for that but ultimately in the spirit of negotiation and to
be eliminated. certainly, negotiations are very hopeful and cautiously optimistic with china and it is never over till it is over but i think the news this morning was secretary mnuchin feels they enforcement protocol which is always been the problem in the past to enforce any agreements on both sides that are made but the numbers for agriculture are very hopeful and optimistic and if we can consummate a deal with china it will be extremely good for us agriculture as well as us economy and dealing with those issues over cyber theft and illegal transfer of intellectual property. that is a good deal. ambassador lighthizer, he's also engaged in japan understanding the ppp limitation will continue to disadvantage our farmers very quickly and he understands that and has a good understanding of that and working hard to get a ag agreement that is certainly
equal or better than ppp was initially. those are the issues. those are the three that are most public but again ambassador, not secretary, ted mckinney is going around the world to malaysia, indonesia, philippines, guam, thailand, vietnam, india and those kind of places as well as china in order to find other customers. an access portion of the money to facilitate program began last year working with collaborators in all industry sectors with 57 different industry sectors will help us gain market access and build markets for the future as we did in china. >> any sense on timing? i know you are in negotiations on one hand we have to be careful about timing but on the other hand i know we tell you our concerns are understaffed
with prices and moving products in so the timing matters. any sense of timing on the agreements? >> that is a challenge. timing you want to make sure you get it right but i'm frankly impressed with how quickly the china discussions are moving and the vice premier has been to the us on three different occasions here since christmas and i have sat in the meetings in the oval office and they seem to be sincere. i am of the belief that both president trump and president xi of china really want a resolution to these three discussions and i'm hopeful we can see that sooner rather than later. these are complex agreements, as you know, but much work has been done in much agreement. one of the things we are excited about the us agriculture is that many of the non- tariff issues having to do with protocols and inspections seem to be covered and the nontariff barriers have been just as difficult as the tariff barriers and that will
enable them to compass the kind of approaches they put on the table. >> i would ask if it does continue and if we get a deal sooner, fantastic, and it continues to go longer i would ask that you would continue to advocate for purchasers and sign of good faith while at negotiations is going on. farmers are on the front lines as you know. with that, i turned to ranking member merkley. >> thank you so much. i want to start out with and production program. this was a project that senator mcconnell and senator ray and senator wyden and myself worked hard to have have become a significant agricultural crop in america and it is now a situation where 615 registered hemp growers in oregon and i know in kentucky as well and others across the nation. both fiber and cbd oil has made
this a great interest to people and yet we don't have rules and it looks like it will not have rules until we have 2020 crop year. pretty exciting opportunity for farmers in any way you could speed that up? >> i would love to but unlikely as you know. the dairy sector we are prioritizing our dairy farmers in implanting the farm bill and this is obviously new and has complexities because of its uniqueness and products the similarities to many states are illegal so we have to do this in a pretty strictly related environment than a commodity crop. >> i've had the chance to go out to have the farm in oregon and i don't think as complex as you think. people have the marijuana side very different from the hemp.
i like you to join me in oregon for a little tour of our hemp industry and we have these exciting local places where we have rural areas where they are setting up oil press operations in a variety of different technologies involved and all excited because production facility in a rural part of the state that really is anything new in. i like to share some of that enthusiasm with you and pointed three, four people to drive this through and get it done. >> i welcome that what we need to know about the industry as a whole and i probably know less about that than i do most crops and certainly i would welcome that. there is no lack of enthusiasm for sure for the cbd oil and others i'm interested in what the fiber utilization is because what are those industrial uses because as productive as american producers are fearful we can crash this market before it gets off the ground. >> that is possible. fiber has been established in canada for a long time that it
will take longer to be able to move the fiber operations and be competitive there but the oil is competitive right away. i want to turn to housing, rural housing, your budget aluminate single farm mortgage program in the repair loan program and all the grant programs and i have these rural communities that say the challenges when we have an employer who wants to come is not housing and yet when we have people who want to build housing their freight to build it until the employer wants to come. these programs are pretty important and i like you to encourage in restoring them. >> i can't disagree with you at all. rural areas have a chicken and egg situation. i think the ministrations on this was that this was process would be consolidated in hud rather than housing but we understand the impact and effect that rural housing has graduated
in rural america. >> i want to turn to broadband. thank you for your support and rural housing. turning to broadband it was hard to greatly empathize the [inaudible] another half a million dollars next year so we are half a billion dollars so now we have a lot of funds but the program to get the broadband grants out to communities has been slower than we hoped and rules are pretty, get it. i'm encouraging everyone to apply even if they think they don't the rules because i'm hearing very few communities will fit exactly what has been laid out but this is such a big need. so many rural economies just can't keep people here or we can't draw people here if you don't have good broadband. i want to encourage the fastest possible most generous rural rollout if scores are low they don't make the program exactly
but if they bothered to buy i tell people to apply anyone and there will be funds left and maybe they don't fit every single aspect. >> i appreciate you all appropriating another 550 million on top of 600. were on the cusp of receiving navigation now but the portal has been opened in december we work with technical experts these are complex applications there and in the way you designed the rules in unserved areas it did not happen as quickly as i would like but i think we want to get it right improve the concept that usda can facilitate these types of broadband transformations. $200 in grants and i will be the first thing to go in april 23 about 200 coming in may over the loan grant accommodations and 200 coming in june in the loan applications. there's been tremendous interest and i share your enthusiasm and i think this is the moon shot
transformation we can do if we can connect rural america in the 21st century data usage. >> thank you. >> senator moran. >> chairman, thank you. secretary, welcome. i want to start my time to applaud your efforts and your efforts to relocate [inaudible] and ers outside of in dc. i believe government offices located close to the people the people they serve as a positive thing and i reject the argument of some something outside the national capital diminishes its value to farmers into the country. kansas city, the city that splits the border between senator blunt and i, it has 5000 usda employs today and say their value to the country is something less then an employee in the department in washington
dc is offensive to me. there are good people doing good work across the country. i'm happy to see you pursue this and i would ask you to if you would provide an update on this topic where we are and funds on this budget affects the decision and the things that you and we can do to make those employees that those locations have all the staff and training and necessary components to fulfill their jobs. >> thank you for your support. i really have been surprised with the naysayers on this and i would love to understand more about this 90% are outside national capital region he mentioned kansas city in a great in minnesota in new orleans and many other places across with iowa and we've had 139
expressions of interest that have been winnowed down to the middle east and we hope to have the finalists within three weeks time. where we will begin negotiations will allow us to provide a cost-benefit analysis, a real benefit analysis for you all as the appropriators to german. i want to treat this as an economic development project like it was used against me when i was governor, six or 700 federal jobs are pretty good plum for economic development so we expect to get the proposals here and we will go back to those few finalists here and ask for their last and best offer in that regard and i can't bring a deal to you that make sense that i would not expect you all to approve it but i think you'll find some real interest other that begins to help in the reasons we begin to think about as far as quality of life and people with recruiting those
with young families who can get better quality of life. >> sector, please consider me an ally in an effort to please consider me an ally and have offered to the white house in two the ustr to treat them after to provide whatever leadership i can support of us mca's approval by congress i would make the same offer to you, please put me to work and it is a trade agreement of significance that would make the pitch one more time that we should not withdraw from nafta until usmc is proved and i would ask assuming you agree with me you would convey that to the administration. >> i have and will continue to advocate very strongly for that position thank you, mr. secretary everything to her for damage in kansas with a fsa state director and the floods that occurred initially in nebraska have worked their way down to the northeast corner of kansas and i'm watching the weather this weekend in which south dakota will get 18, 24 inches of snow and we know
the last flood we had in kansas of this magnitude occurred july and this occurs in march. there's a lot of rain, spring rain and snowfall and snowmelt yet to come and i went ask one specific question at the moment about this topic and could you provide to me either today or in the near future with the most up-to-date estimate of the ecp budget shortfall and would you and the department support being appropriated to cover the backlog? >> answer to the second question is absolutely. the first question is we don't know yet and the assessments take a while with the floodwaters receding and as you indicated potentially even more coming with snow and snowmelt coming down there could be greater so we don't have good assessments of that currently working with state partners both in the state and federal fsa and in our csr off if there's a shortfall in that the good thing
about the livestock identity program he lifted the cabinets with helpful to the many people who will lose a good amount of livestock in those areas we are prepared to support that but if there are shortfalls we will certainly advise you of what we assessed the damage to be and ask for what is needed. >> this could be the most important program for kansas will be ecp and there's already backlog in that effort. >> we've always funded ecp and filled the shortfall. you're trying to do so in the emergency information will we could use help encompassing that. >> i hope can also get the disaster bill out which would backfill that ecp need and border said issues and you know the flooding -- i've never seen the i.c.e. associated with putting the way it barely happened with huge i.c.e. box that can carve and destroy
spring bread. >> i agree. never seen anything like it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator tester. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i keep going to come and change discussion but will hold off on that and stick with ag. look, we're on the cusp of planting season in montana and the you for being here, mr. secretary. we are on the cusp of planting season and i have business as you know and you are in the business and the fact is show me a crop of the complaint right now that is worth anything. it is really hard for it i will tell you is i appreciate the trade mitigation the more we do those things and more taxpayers years go up and a farmer [inaudible] we've got a problem and -- i can give you quotes from folks who were in agriculture and allow
[inaudible] one of the largest green associations in the state so it will be hard to break even this year. you can't forgive and you go broke with rome america is under attack and you know that we are losing people right and left and lost in the 80s and i think we are on the cusp of looking at losing a whole bunch again. fingers tell me you have 18 months and were just about at 18 months. tpb has gone into effect without us and i just heard montana farmers are planting 300, 10000 fewer acres week which is great at what will we plan to connect will be plant for scraps or anything? a get into hemp in a minute but the fact is there so much uncertainty going on right now with the tariffs both directions john deere announced increase in their equipment costs and fuel prices are turning up this is a recipe for disaster in rural america and it is man-made. he stepped out of tpb in montana biggest customers was in japan
and we no longer have the trade advantages in places like australia japan. we don't have any trade advantages. in fact, they have it. you've heard the story and if you have not i note you have. the question is and i know chairman talked about this a little bit with china is there bilateral trade talks going on right now with japan? >> there are. >> when do you anticipate an agreement with japan? >> you know, senator, i am not the negotiator in that regard we have a us trade representative and i think the question we have to deliver to him and i do know of his interest and his understanding of the disadvantage of the american producers they would have regarding tpb but i am hoping it will be sooner rather than later. >> i am here to tell you i know some folks in production agriculture want to see the guys go broke because the smaller ones go first and they think
they can buy them out. i'm telling you from a rural america perspective this is not a good thing. compute security perspective. this is not a good thing. you got less producers and more evacuations from rural america in schools closing down in hospitals closing down and you have a mess. it is a mess caused by us and not like in kansas with the floods but caused by us. i hope the guy negotiating is listening because time is of the essence here and if you can help push them and i know you're a good man and i hope you do. you got to have trade and we eat a lot of food domestically but we don't have foreign markets we are host. it is important. i want to talk about. one of the straps we might have been able to raise montana and by the way we could still raise the season is have. i'm going into agronomic facts and if you can put another crop into the rotation and breakup
wheat into the cycles it's a good thing. we raised up but in barley now we can raise. and it's a good thing for the community and the thing for business. i get this might be a completed thing but doesn't the law allow you to accept the plans can. >> senator, the 2014 farm bill allow that they will still continue under the dash. >> dea all of them because the two anything farm bill supersedes that. >> who won't let them? >> dea. right now when they could've used the pilot program for matthews back and correct me if i'm wrong but i think i'm right they could planet but when the new farm bill got signed it supersedes the previous one and now they can't see it until the usda acts and what i'm asking you to do is you have the capacity to adopt those state plans. do it. and then people in montana can
start raising the stuff we start developing markets or pressing develop markets for the roughage and we can wear clothes that will never wear out. by the way, ever hemp that i got out of canada and you can't wear this stuff out. it's 20 years old. i implore you especially with the trade stuff going on. please, please look at your options and look at perspective and not why how can we not do it but dammit, we've got to do it. >> i may do it person, senator. >> with all due respect if we had a farm bill by september 30th you would have rules here as well. >> i get that but you do have the option of accepting those state plans. >> that is our policy currently and we are accepting the plans under the 14 farm bills that we can find in these relations in the 18 farm bill. >> so what you're saying -- what you are saying is farmers in montana and plant hemp based on
dash. >> based on the rules of the operating under the 14 farm belt. >> i will get back to you on that because right now the farmers are tony they can't seed out of canada and the good under the 14 belt. >> if that is case we will look at it as well and look forward to talking with your office about that. >> thank you have a great east easter. >> senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome mr. secretary. >> in morning. >> i want to bring up to you today the senior boone program and this is a program that is vital to lower income seniors in the state of maine and maine happens to be the oldest state in the nation by median age and it is also a state with a lot of low income older americans. just to give you an idea of the
reach of this program there is a food bank called the good shepherd food bank in auburn, maine which alone distributes approximately 9000 supplemental food boxes each month to partner agencies across the state which, in turn, just to be them to seniors and that is just one howbeit the largest of our food banks. unfortunately this program which really makes a difference to the nutritional well-being of our seniors was eliminated in the administration's budget and what is the justification for eliminating the senior box program. >> good question. obviously while i'm a big fan of the food box and that was the beginning of the origin of our harvest box idea for snap and i
think it's worked well and our budget does not report that i can give you just occasion for that. i think i'm a big fan of that in no a lot of seniors depend on that in our food banks have done a great job in doing that. >> thank you. i appreciate that answer. i hope that someday we can work together and figure or secure the funding which is not that significant but it is significant to our rural senio seniors. mr. secretary, i'm also concerned about the proposal for usda programs that have helped farmers protect crops from past past and diseases. i had to say the strikes me as penny wise and pound foolish cut that proposed budget with zero out the funding for the integrated pest management program as well as the minor crops pest management program
with two initiatives that have been very helpful to main growers over the decades. this was in the 1970s as potato specific usda pilot programs and the university mains cooperative extension integrated management programs is an integral part of my states agricultural industry and what began as a small potato pest management program has blossomed into a certificate in multi- disciplinary house helping farmers control pests and disease on a wide range of crops including potatoes, apples, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and sweetcorn. this program has also helped to prevent harmful investigations that would decimate entire crops
and want to give you an example. in the late 1990s there was a new strain of late flight found in maine that could not be easily controlled with pesticides as the strict previous trains have been. it was the integrated pest management program that isolated this harmful new strain to develop a specific remedy for it and it saved potato growers from losing their crops and extraordinary revenue. without, the work that was done by this program the entire existence of the main potato industry would have been in serious jeopardy. so, mr. secretary my point is i think it makes a lot more sense to invest upfront in the
programs, the research and pest management programs that keep our crops healthy and to have to pay out enormous sums in disaster payments of one farmers lose crop insurance and one farmers lose their entire crop. again, i would ask for you to work with me and the committee to see if we can restore the funding for program that i know personally coming from the potato land in northern maine has made a real difference. >> i would welcome that, senator. you've articulated it extremely well. we have utilized the program all along and i would cement to you it's been part of the growth of the organic industry as we learned to do things without proper chemicals in a new way so
i cannot agree with you more. >> thank you. it has indeed been a key boost to the organic farms that we have in maine and that is the fastest-growing part of our agricultural sector. thank you very much. >> senator udall's been. >> you, mr. chairman. great to see you here, mr. secretary. always a pleasure to have you appear on a hill. mr. secretary, senator collins and i recently sent you a letter asking for your assistance for farmers who have been devastated by contamination and you are familiar with that, i think. in new mexico the source of this contamination is us air force base using firefighting phone and in maine i think it's a different source but the impacts are the same. tens of thousands of gallons of
contaminated milk have been dumped and workers in livestock exposed through drinking water and farmers facing bankruptcy. one farmer has 4000 cows contaminated by this and can do nothing with them and nobody will take them. i want to thank you because the usda has been awful but we need more help identifying programs and funding and in particular i will beat you to work with us to ensure programs like the dairy indemnity program and the livestock indemnity program are used to their fullest extent for assistance here. can we get your commitments on that connect. >> we have served. as we've noted we've been working with producer in new mexico and trying to understand the standard certainly on the main perspective getting standards there of what is acceptable and what is not in that way but we as a government has response ability in particular if it is a type of
issue such as we see in new mexico, maine may be different but we have the same solutions that need to be addressed in maine as well. >> and then turning to the equip program which you're very familiar with i have fought for years to make sure land grants are eligible for equip and the 2014 farm bill included important authority for this apartment to enter into alternative agreements with they are this irrigation all-time spanish irrigation ditches in northern mexico that a been there for 400 years and part of that is related to land grants. in the most recent 2018 farm bill we built on the success and cut some of the redtape and land grants can apply directly to an rcs for federal dollars. this is a big deal and hundreds
of men grants can now directly access federal dollars for work on their communal lands in there if a structure. mr. secretary, i appreciate new laws require new law rules but i do not want to lose the momentum while we await final equipment while we one idea is to allow men grants to enter into pilot project agreements and what will you do to ensure continuity of funding to [inaudible] while you finalize rules. >> the equip program is one of the most popular conservation programs you have funded and although generously funded us and oversubscribed as well. this will create more demand more create more needs for fund in the equip program but we will work feverishly on all these conservation issues to omit the farm bill as you wrote it. there are various issues of and by the way i need to mention mr.
chairman you may want to look at funding from limitation of the farm bill and that seems to be fairly slight this year compared to the new changes we got. we have new software and training in different things like that and we're trying to work to get it right because the equip program has been over described but this new influx of customers who certainly are well prepared to apply and do that we look forward to collaboration but there will be challenges going forward. >> as you know local input drives better decision-making so we hope the an rcs will hold local listening sessions in new mexico while you develop the equip rules we would welcome that. >> and he mentioned broadband and one part of the whole broadband issue is enrolled broadband providers including tribally owned broadband providers. there is one in new mexico called m ati and they would very
much like to be a part of this program. i hope you provide us of the loans and will they be available to companies such as tribally owned in my state. >> we expect them to. if any particular technical help in applying then we would also offer that. >> great. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. we appreciate you working with us and senator collins on this piece issue and it is a national issue and one that is growing because of the contamination, i believe, is about 123 air force base is flowing into communities and one that we need to get a hold of. >> senator baldwin. >> you, mr. chairman. secretary purdue, wisconsin's dairy industry is in crisis right now. our farmers have faced low
prices for far too long and they are seen their export markets blocked and lost to competitors these days. threats to close the southern border would actually dramatically deep in this crisis and this pain. in the past two years wisconsin has lost more than 1300 dairy farms. that is roughly the equivalent of 50% of our dairy farms. farmers need stable markets and they need a way to sell their products at a fair price and to not be caught in the middle of trade wars with no end in sight. mexico is by far our biggest dairy export market and buys about one third of the cheese wheat exports. i would add to that that in wisconsin and present of the milk that goes into cheese.
access to the mexican market is really important to wisconsin farmers. i will tell you even with passing comments about closing down ports of entry has got wisconsin farmers and cheesemakers extremely concerned. this comes on top of mexico's retaliatory tariffs against cheese and the uncertainty of trade renegotiations. secretary purdue, wisconsin dairy farmers have been waiting patiently to see these trade issues resolved but it has cost them dearly and we will see more farms lost if this does not turn around and soon. i want to hear from you what steps you are taking with your colleagues in the in ministration to resolve these trade issues and keep our borders open for trade.
>> sure. let's start with the good news. what did you do with the 2018 farm bill regarding the dairy is transformational. there is no doubt in the dairy sector and in your state and others probably were under more dress than any other sector there. we have heard interest in doing the hemp ruled out earlier focused on dairy because the people. mrs. continue to go out of business with trying to expedite them limitation of the farm bill and their sector quickly. just in a couple weeks to start getting the refunds over the premiums they paid on the margin protection program that will come along navigations for the new programs in june we expect to have the retroactive payments from the january 1st over the new farm bill provision and it will be a real benefit to your dairy farmers in wisconsin certainly does less than 250, 300 cows. regarding trade issues there is no doubt one of the problems we
got into the milk prices over the country is that our producers have produced too much but we are overproduced and all farms are not a business not many losses are there. many of the same calluses that have gone bigger and more efficient in that regard. certainly we eradicated for the imagination and i don't see any threat right now to close the border and we have advocated, i think, as well as others are detrimental list us commerce as well. regarding us mca you make the case for an expeditious approval not just because of mexico but the additional access to the canadian market to get to that as well and your producers you know this and we are harmed greatly in the class seven which has been illuminated i will cut you off to extend couple other questions but i do want to follow up on this one to say both mexico and canada have said
they will not finalize us mca until the us removes the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. what do you see as the passport on that? >> we are advocating to the president that he can, should goals and revitalize in the steel industry aluminum industry through the quota system as combined by the tariff when they exceed that quota. hopefully they will come to see that that is an effective tool to continue the support our domestic steel industry as well. we have advocated for the removal of the 232 retaliatory tariffs and ever since agreement was signed. in practice i hope we can see those reconciliation prior to the vote in all three nations. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i run out of time and are you going to contemplate a second round of questions can
excellent. >> which will start right now. mr. secretary, relative to funding for the farm bill implementation that is something we will look at and i am on both ag and ag appropriations and it should be more under the ag bill for that. there was not in a prior farm bill so is something you will have to address. >> significant reduction so -- >> that is fine we will work on it here. we'll talk about what you thank you need. >> is something we have to do. can you update us on where you're at -- we had scott gottlieb and before he left and gave us his perspective and please give us your schema. >> obviously some people thought usda is against any kind of alternative protein while we support our cattle industry that supported us for many years and with great holes and products to
feed a world of 10 million people in the short-term we are looking at all opportunities in the mou as a sign between usda and fda gets the right to jurisdiction over them doing laboratory work when one set protein grows to the place of being harvested that is when us da comes in the same quality assessment it has on our life cattle and the branding and labeling and all of that and that is when they become involved. i think we have a good point of interest between fda and usda gonsalves meet. >> very important. >> from our -- as you know from our cap producer standpoint very important. you are in charge of living. the consumer knows when they're getting [inaudible] >> our goal is for consumer to be informed in understanding where the product came from and they can make the choice as they
find no quality distinction in the choices left up to them but we don't want to treat a new in a bit of product any different more favorably than traditional products. >> to appreciate the next question and included 15 million how you plan to allocate the resources and will they be sufficient to meet the department needs but you answer that mark and we knew the answer. i received have that same concern and i thank you for your comments on broadband and that was something that i would bring up as well and anything else would you bring up on broadband to connect with me that funny priority and now the rollout is important. >> if you don't have particular constituents in a state that find difficult to associate we would welcome to help them there's a lot of information on the web and it's been mitigated since even during the shutdown we work with different groups and interest groups to help them complete looking forward to the navigations that will come in and early appropriations for the dollar so they can get started. this absolutely is, i think, a
transformational moonshot that i believe is the ability to connect rural and urban america in a way we have not seen befo before. >> there's a lot of excitement out there about the programs so the portrait and will a proposed [inaudible] we raised the fda loss and guarantee and i try to breathe higher the fraction cost have gone up so much. >> no doubt about it. your recognition of the farm bill of raising limits will help we will see. i can't answer directly but based on the stress we talked about there is a lot of demand out there and people that are going to look to the fsa for their lending this year that may not have in the past. >> yeah, the capital requirements are so high now. small farmer is still to play millions of dollars in capital. >> that is my you see in the
economy of scale getting larger farms growing larger and larger. we'll have the census information out this afternoon that will be a great data point for you all to look at some of these issues as well. >> food aid programs are important. obviously, we're cutting the budget for this committee committed to them in your thoughts on food aid? >> again, this is something in ministration is again choosing to do what they want to make sure it is done well. you all in congress have had a different opinion and i don't know i can disagree with that regarding how it is utilized. i certainly the administration and the number of budgets that is where much of the direction comes from in the budget and we
acknowledge that. >> to me it's a win-win. we provide to do it in a way that is helpful to our farmers and seems like a win-win. thank you for the flex ability provided in a timely way and helpful with what cattle producers are going on right now but is there anything else you want major record that i have not brought up as far as issues? >> no, leaving disaster is real care. the situations we will not cover with a safety net provided in the 18 farm bill and i think you all know that. it's a matter of the need is great for those people who are affected it is devastating when you are in that. or place where things have been devastated. hopefully we will get to that result quickly. ...
very concerned about the clean water supply communities to meet new standards but that's expensive for a small number of people and so. i'd like to have my team sit down and understand how the subsidy could have risen from .17% to almost 5% over two years because of the calculation far fewer grants can be put out to the smaller communities and i came to that is a big problem for them to have growth in the rural communities. then i want to turn to snap. oregon uses the waiver and i have a list of the counties that are received, 22 of which got the waivers.
they are all rural counties and this is striking at the heart of oregon. jobs are disappearing off of the ranches and farms, so that's affecting than. we don't have rural housing construction so i think the states should be empowered. let the state make the decision and leave them in power and on this piece and see if you have thoughts about it.
receiving disability benefits, we believe again from the education training our goal is to help the people sustained permanently blocked indefinitely on a food assistance program which we think is more helpful you could have volunteered 24 hours a week and others if your local communities are higher unemployment there is still the waiver applies to them over about as well athatas well as t% set aside for no reason at all so we think the flexibility that states are given used properly is in keeping with the farm bill from the perspective of 1996 over the work requirements. the average lifetime in america is 12 months, so that is over a lifetime of 489.
that is a pretty small factor into these are my most difficult places to find jobs that are going to be affected by these changes. the states that are the hungriest and the nation not something that we might, but this will make our situation a lot worse. >> we look forward to addressing these other issues that you've addressed and we want to converse with your staff and answer concerns over these issues as well. >> there are four are going on in the world today and i want to particularly talk as we see for
food program every year that this program has been zeroed out which is every year in the last three and monitoring challenges. mr. secretary, i say this with a smile if this exists, fix the problems don't zero out the account. it's an important program to our countries and farmers but most importantly it helps lots of young people to be set around the globe. i remember showing you a pile of green in an elevator from two harvests ago but hasn't been marketed yet and then we learn and know there's people who die every day because they don't have food and we ought to do a better job of connecting the
two. the effort began to hire a new director and a science laboratory. a health you would share my view it is critical to the future of this project and i'm curious where we stand on the recruiting efforts. i hope it was more than just an announcement you were hiring and i hope you have not been encouraging individuals to apply with certain characteristics and backgrounds and tell me where we are in that regard, please. we have had discussions about fulfilling that for the appropriations from the dhs, but it can't run without the right people and i know that i share your concern about that. >> if you don't know at the
moment can you let us know how many positions are beyond the director posted and remained open clicks in the last farm bill we were successful in including legislation called farmers first and this deals with suicide among the producers the committee provided $2 million in fiscal year 2019 network. can you speak to the importance of the services to fill in the gaps and what is currently available to farmers and ranchers. i'm looking for an update on this. >> as the anxiety and stress develops based on low prices we've seen more and more of that, we also see opioid
addiction leading the opioid addiction or suicide or my overdose. we understand the need to have a network with a cold winds and hopefully we can continue to do that. >> make this a priority for those who have at the department. at the bill corrected u.s. ea to do a feasibility study on the statutory trust within a year. do you anticipate that it will be able to provide stud that sto congress of time? >> that gives plenty of time to understand how the dealer trust applies to other types of similar situations we have with livestock and others.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you so much for the support that you have given the american agriculture is in your leadership at the department in a very tough time i've been so very impressed with you. as we currently see the changes in th the south and the midwestf the severe flooding with serious threats to the productivity of the agricultural industry in recent years particularly those within close proximity to the mississippi river have been subject to more frequent and severe flooding such as my friend to farm close to the mississippi river for 150 years. some have even lost an entire crop to three years in a row now
this has made it difficult to find affordable policies that provided them the level of protection that they need. it directs the department of agriculture's risk management agency to develop a cost prohibitive policy for producers in areas such as this. it directs them to consider premium rate adjustments automatic yield exclusions for the consecutive losses and flexibility of the final plan state and prevent the plant regulations. should the subcommittee provided the adequate funding in fiscal year 2020 agricultural appropriations bill would you commit to ensuring the agency works with the farmers impacted by flooding to ensure they have
adequate and affordable crop insurance options? >> this is an issue i would love to have further discussions on the premise they are statutorily sound and we don't need to violate this principle. obviously where the houses have flood insurance we may want to look at it from a crop flood insurance position to have something like actual flood insurance halfway and look at the provisions you've quoted to look at what we can do that does not violate the statistically sound premise of crop insurance where those people may go into areas that are subject. we don't want to encourag encoud that we may need to look at something like a national flood
insurance premium, which may be what you are describing but i don't have the details on that i would love to discuss that with you further. >> thank you very much. this is a serious concern and they did it for the right reasons. mr. secretary, senator baldwin is on her way back and she did have more questions for you. i know you have to be out by elephantine 30 that we will have you out on time or prior. crop insurance i don't ever talk to producers without them saying their number one risk management tools crop insurance. now more than ever there are no cuts to the crop insurance because they need that protection right now more than ever. so just address that for me if you would. >> i hear the same thing that this has been the best type of
partnership safety net between the federal government and risk management fo through the safety net to continue and we look forward to addressing that with you. i want to touch back on the trust fund. i am glad that senator brought that up. a number of the options talked to me about that as well. do you have any preliminary thoughts on that issue and have you heard from the auction houses? >> we've heard from them mostly from producers in the area and we are looking to create a trust
product that can be utilized and funded by the commerce that goes on in that way, but it's a guard for scrupulous or difficult financial situations people find themselves in. but certainly when it becomes available, many producers selling into the it becomes difficult. so that type of product is well needed and recommending what we think will work. >> is there any pushback that you are aware of? they say there are cases where they are not getting paid. they are not getting paid so they are left holding the bag. if they're pushback against its?
>> they may have concerns with the security issue. talk about the business center and how that is going as far as to stand up. >> we are pleased with the consolidation that occurs and it gives a more consistent approa approach. the procurement in this type of things that make sense. we don't believe that decision-making on the ground or on the field making consistent rules with the concept. are you comfortable in terms of
getting that done with the resources to do its? as far as the disaster supplemental, are there aspects of death that you are particularly concerned that get addressed or that are in a process that you want to bring us as we try to get a package done fa? and to the extent we don't have it done, are there areas you can help until the funding atop their? >> the answer to the last question, sadly, no. we are deploying every emergency disaster provision that you've given us in the farm bill there. but some of the other destruction isn't contemplated. a safety net is a help that is
normal in times. when you have other destruction like the floods or hurricanes, tornadoes or wildfires, the farm bill doesn't contemplate that. we've got the situation in northern florida and southern georgia over ten grand pine trees we faced it with citrus and we've never done that before but we created a block grant that i thought has an extreme complement over the fate that it was administered. we have to look at some things that have never been done before. some of these people, trees for instance are not considered a crop that it's other people's ideas. mississippi, alabama, the carolinas, georgia pine trees are what was putting them through college, so i think again that discretion you gave us in 17 we would love to repeat that this is the 18 and 19 disasters, but getting it done
and appropriated i don't have that many problems putting it, but it needs to be done sooner rather than later. >> any other questions that you have? >> perfect timing. your timing is just right. we just finished up. senator baldwin. >> catch my breath here. are you saying that he leaves you breathless? [laughter] >> i am saying that doctor francis collins left me breathless and our other
subcommittees. last year we provided funding for the business innovation and the subcommittee and through the appropriations bill. the farm bill built on those efforts by including the text of the bipartisan dairy business innovation act which i introduced with senator. can you please provide an update on the implementation of these provisions? >> i will have to get back to you on that. i am not familiar with the innovation obviously the dairy sector needs as much innovation as it can as well as labor and all those innovations that can help and are needed, but that l get back with you over those specific issues. >> certainly when they can add value to the product on the farm
or at the processing stage with new innovation, it is one of those tools that help withstand these challenging times, so i'm hoping we can get the funds out and working as soon as possible. the new program for the farm bill would be paying farmers right now because they are so low. farmers are making business decisions as the sea spring come from this year's crops and if they are doing so without the information that they would usually have available to really get to understand the new dairy margin coverage program.
when can they expect to see payments i know you commented on that already but the decision to sort out this comes first. >> the refund from the prior premiums will be out i can tell you they are going to like it and obviously we need to know the levels and it's more difficult than that, but that decision-making tool hopefully will be early may so they can make those plans and to sign up
thank you to doctor johansson and we appreciate having you here for members of the committee if there are additional questions we've asked they be in within a week and respond within four weeks thereafter. >> we enjoy and look forward to answering your questions into doing what you have instructed us to do in the farm bill. >> thank you. we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
she has been with you leaders on the labels. for america to lose somebody like this would be an absolute shame. i feel strongly about this. we were able to talk and understand each other and we are able to get in to it sometimes but also walk away as friends and he knows how i feel about people and i vote the way i want to vote.
manchin joined every republican supported the nomination. he served as the acting secretary since january following the resignation. they spoke about the nomination before the final confirmation vote. to confirm david to surface the 53rd secretary of interior nearly 5 million acres of public land into the outer continental shelf the interior secretary is charged with managing the public's natural resources and protecting the nation's most iconic spaces for now and generations to come.