Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is calling for swift action to pass a strong, long-term Farm Bill. In a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing yesterday, Klobuchar underscored the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill in the new Congress to give farmers and ranchers the support they need, especially in the face of drought and natural disasters. Klobuchar also discussed the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure to help farmers get their goods to market and export overseas.

“Unlike the drought this summer and hurricane this fall, the failure to complete a Farm Bill is entirely preventable,” said Klobuchar. “Our farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our rural economy and they deserve a strong, long-term Farm Bill that will give them the support they need to get through tough times.”

During the hearing, Klobuchar questioned witnesses about critical programs that protect farmers impacted by drought and natural disasters. In particular, Klobuchar highlighted the importance of emergency programs included in the 2012 Farm Bill, including her provision that would help farmers access land for haying and grazing during emergencies and funding for research to help develop drought and disease resistant seeds.

Klobuchar also discussed the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure to help farmers continue to export. Last year, the severe drought made barge traffic along the Mississippi more difficult, disrupting the transportation of grain and other farm commodities. Klobuchar recently urged the Administration to expedite actions that would help maintain water levels on the Mississippi to make sure that Minnesota farmers and businesses can continue to ship their goods efficiently and effectively.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Klobuchar has been a leader on issues that support farmers and rural communities. Last year she helped craft a strong 2012 Farm Bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The bill strengthened the crop insurance program and also reauthorized critical livestock disaster programs such as the Livestock Indemnity Program, which compensates ranchers at a rate of 75% of market value for livestock mortality caused by a disaster, and the Emergency Disaster Loan Program, which provides producers with low interest loans when a county has been declared a federal disaster area. The 2012 Farm Bill also included four of Klobuchar’s provisions supporting farmers and ranchers, including provisions to help beginning farmers and ranchers gain better access to the critical crop insurance program as well as land for grazing cattle, and also included a provision requiring a feasibility study for insuring swine producers against catastrophic losses.