WASHINGTON, D.C.–By a vote of 99 to 1, the Senate overwhelmingly recognized “Rally for Rural America” held in Washington D.C. March 20-21. Ninety-nine Senators see the need for Congress to immediately alleviate the deepening economic crisis in rural America. The Sense of the Senate amendment, authored by Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., was passed on March 23 as part of a crop insurance reform bill. The National Farmers Union (NFU) led nearly 40 groups in organizing the rally, which brought more than 3,000 farmers, ranchers and rural citizens together to call on Congress to act on the rural crisis.
“More than 3,000 rural Americans traveled by bus, plane and train to Washington to send Congress a message,” said NFU President Leland Swenson. “We hope the overwhelming support for this measure indicates that Congress is ready to take meaningful action to return prosperity to rural America.”
The Sense of the Senate amendment acknowledged the many economic challenges facing rural communities, including record low commodity prices, anti-competitive markets, a loss of jobs and businesses on rural main street and decline in health care and education.
“Congress should respond with a clear and strong message to the participants and rural families that Congress is committed to giving the crisis in agriculture, and all of rural America, its full attention by reforming rural policies,” read the measure.
The amendment called on Congress to respond in a manner that will:
Alleviate the agricultural price crisis; invest in rural education and health care; ensure competitive markets; ensure a safe and secure food supply; and, protect natural resources for future generations.