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Ag disaster assistance passed in the House of Representatives

DENVER – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union commended the House of Representatives today following passage of nearly $4 billion in emergency disaster assistance and an extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. The provisions are included in the Supplemental Appropriations bill being acted upon by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“I am very pleased and encouraged at the outcome of today’s vote. Family farmers and ranchers in the Rocky Mountain region have been hit hard by natural disasters the past number of years and a vote on disaster assistance in the House had been continually denied,” stated Kent Peppler, president, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and farmer from Mead, Colo. “Today’s passage is an important step to securing the aid so badly needed in the countryside.”

Family farmers and ranchers have faced devastating droughts, wildfires and severe snowstorms which have placed significant burdens on producers, including the loss of between 10,000 and 15,000 head of livestock in this winter’s storms alone. “I commend and thank Speaker Pelosi, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and the members of the House from Colorado and New Mexico that supported these critical issues,” said Peppler. “The speaker announced plans to include disaster assistance at the recent annual convention of National Farmers Union and she followed through with her pledge.”

“I acknowledge that Congress will need to work out the political differences with President Bush associated with the Iraq conflict, but we know Congress and the President will provide the funding necessary to support the work of our troops,” stated Peppler. “We urge Congress and President Bush to maintain the funding to support our farmers and ranchers with disaster assistance and the action to support dairy producers by extending the MILC program. This MILC program is vital to assisting dairy producers when prices are low and it only makes sense for it to expire at the same time as other farm bill programs.”

President Peppler will be in Washington, D.C., next week as part of the NFU legislative fly-in to visit with members of Congress on the importance for swift action in providing disaster assistance to farmers and ranchers.

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is a general farm organization representing 25,000 families in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.

RMFU maintains that safe, healthy food is the result of profitable, secure farm and ranch families.