April 26 was a great day for South Dakota farmers and ranchers as two key events occurred in Washington, D.C., that will help our agriculture community breathe a little easier.

After months of work with my colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee, the committee passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill.

This farm bill achieved many of my goals as it saves more than $23 billion; eliminates the Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) Program, Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program, and Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program; includes a strong Conservation Title; reauthorizes the permanent livestock disaster programs I was able to include in the 2008 Farm Bill; and, most importantly, it not only preserves but strengthens crop insurance.

The Aggregate Revenue and Risk Management (ARRM) Program I introduced in a bill last year was used as the framework for the Commodity Title of the Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill, and provided a savings of more than $20 billion.

The 2012 Farm Bill includes a provision I authored that will reduce crop insurance benefits for native sod converted to crop production and also eliminates policies that have encouraged the misuse of crop insurance. Inclusion of my provision, offered as an amendment, added an additional $200 million in savings for the farm bill.

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