FARGO, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during his visit to Fargo today, underscoring the importance of a strong farm bill and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.
After touring agricultural research facilities, Burgum, Perdue, Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer and former U.S. agriculture secretary and North Dakota governor Ed Schafer attended a roundtable discussion with producers and commodity groups at a North Dakota State University Extension greenhouse facility, with NDSU President Dean Bresciani also in attendance.
“We’re grateful for Secretary Perdue’s decision to visit North Dakota during his first year leading the USDA, and for the opportunity to discuss with him the potential impacts of NAFTA renegotiations and the upcoming farm bill,” Burgum said. “We appreciate his approach of empowering states to solve problems through innovation, not regulation, which will allow our farmers to stay competitive in the 21st century economy.”
Recognizing that Canada is North Dakota’s No. 1 trading partner, Burgum stressed the relevance of NAFTA but acknowledged that the agreement needs updating. North Dakota exported $4.4 billion, or 83 percent of its exports, to Canada last year. Additionally, the governor advocated for an updated farm bill, set to be debated in Congress later this year.
“Our producers rely on strong crop insurance, disaster assistance, Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage. Maintaining robust support for these programs in the farm bill gives our farmers and ranchers the confidence they need to continue feeding the world,” he said.
Today’s meeting with Perdue is Burgum’s fourth in the past year, as part of the governor’s ongoing commitment to building and strengthening relationships with federal partners.