Ernst is the Lone Iowan on the Farm Bill Conference Committee

Senator Joni Ernst is among the 56 members of the U.S. House and Senate who met this (Wednesday) morning to open negotiations aimed at producing a final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Ernst used her opening remarks to emphasize maintaining federal crop insurance.

Ernst is the only Iowan on the panel hammering out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. Ernst says one priority for her is ensuring land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve program is “environmentally sensitive” rather than productive land for row crops or livestock pastures. She also supports lower federal rental payments for land that is enrolled in the Conservation Reserve.

Advocates of lowering federal Conservation Reserve Program payments say it will discourage older farmers from using the program to essentially retire from raising livestock or planting and harvesting row crops — and those farmers will, instead, get more income from renting their land to younger farmers.