Commodity Classics Sen Roberts

(Jim) I’m Jim Shroyer, welcome to AGam in Kansas and we’re fortunate to have Senator Pat Roberts with us today at the Commodity Classic in Manhattan. And Senator, tell me, you’re now the Ag Chairperson. (Roberts) Yes sir. (Jim) I know you’ve got some plans. So, can you give us a sneak preview on what you have up your sleeve for the Ag Committee. (Roberts) Well, we’re not gonna be sneaky, we’re gonna be right up front Jim. Thank you, it’s a privilege to visit with all of your dealers. Thank you for what you do for agriculture. It’s good to be here at Commodity Classic. I think a great majority of these folks are responsible for me being IE in the Senate again and certainly have the opportunity to be chairman. Really looking forward to this. Our first hearing will be with the Secretary about a week from now and the Secretary is coming up and we’re gonna ask him a lot of questions about the implementation of the Farm Bill. Everybody I visit with here, a lot of tough choices to make. (Jim) Right. (Roberts) Too many deadlines that are coming at us. So basically that’s one of the first things. But we’re gonna get after one of the biggest things that farmers really are upset about and that’s over regulation. Great example is the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Great example is Waters of the U.S. We’re gonna work with the Environmental Public Works Committee. That’s Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma. He and I are good friends. We’re gonna try and work together and see if we can back off these regulations. If it’s one thing that farmers tell me, Pat I feel ruled, not governed. And a lot of it is a lot of these regulations that just don’t make any sense. (Jim) OK. That’s something. Any other ideas? (Roberts) Well, we’ve got a bunch of things that we have to do. There’s the CFTC Reauthorization. That’s the Commodity Exchange Act. We want to make sure that farmer and that swap dealer that we don’t lose our risk management capability. Dodd-Frank has been a real problem there. We made some progress on that with a bill we just passed for end users, but we have to protect that. We have the Child Nutrition Program. I’ve already been eating school lunches at quite a few schools. Not exactly what I would like to eat, but at any rate we gotta take a look at that cause some of our very small rural schools can’t afford it. They’re gonna have to go together with a cooperative or something. This is another mandate from Washington trying to tell us what to eat. I think everybody understands we have an obesity program. But I want to take a look at the eligibility rules. I want to take a look at how we could better streamline this. So, child nutrition, the Commodity Act, we’ve got the Livestock Reporting Act, we’ve got the Federal Grain Inspection Service. All those have to be reauthorized. But I really want to get at these regulations that are driving farmers crazy. (Jim) Right, right. So just recently we’ve heard some comments about cutting the crop insurance subsidy. What, what do you think about that? (Roberts) No. (Jim) No. OK. (Roberts) No. Not on my watch. (Jim) OK. (Roberts) I have worked so hard along with many others. All of our farm groups here that are represented about crop insurance. That is the biggest tool in our safety tool box, if you will. (Jim) Right. (Roberts) We’ve got a lot of critics. And we’re gonna be spending a little more money, actually we’re gonna save a little more because prices are coming down. The Congressional Budget Office thinks we won’t plant as much, so we won’t have as much on crop insurance. We have this sequestered. We have a Budget Control Act. Ag’s gonna take a hit. (Jim) Right. (Roberts) But we certainly could take a hit in other areas. We have safe crop insurance. We’ve improved it and we need to keep it solid so our farmers and our lenders understand exactly where we are. (Jim) Senator, thank you for taking time. (Roberts) You bet. Thank you Jim. (Jim) You can go have a bite now. (Roberts) I’ll do that. (Jim) Thank you for taking time. (Roberts) It’s good to be here. Thank you.

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