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Congress: vote NO on ag cuts!

DENVER—Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) President John Stencel has written letters to members of the U.S. House of Representative from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming asking them to vote against the agricultural budget reconciliation package containing $2.7 billion in cuts to programs over five years. The budget cuts have been referred back to the House after the Senate voted in favor of the cuts last week.

RMFU opposes the cuts and is extremely disappointed by Congress’ refusal to designate disaster assistance for producers suffering losses from Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.

“Farmers and ranchers are wrestling with higher input costs such as fuel, fertilizer and electricity, while facing lower producer commodity prices,” said Stencel. “At the same time, the drought in our region has resulted in lower overall production. Now is not the time to cut agricultural programs or fail to deliver on needed disaster assistance.”

RMFU believes the reinstatement of the Milk Income Loss Compensation (MILC) is needed assistance for family dairy producers throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. However, the $2.7 million dollar cut in conservation, energy, rural development and research programs represents difficult times for people in rural Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. These cuts come at the same time when the nation’s wealthy are receiving huge tax breaks. RMFU believes deferring advance direct payments due and payable to farmers and ranchers, per the commodity program contract, will force those same farmers and ranchers to pay interest on operating loans needed to offset the immediate loss of those direct payments.

“This simply comes at the wrong time,” said Stencel. “The outcome of these cuts may be forcing many farmers and ranchers out of business.”

The Agriculture Reconciliation Act of 2005 fails to assist family farmers and ranchers that have been devastated by natural disasters no matter where they may live in the United States,” said Stencel. “We support the U.S. government’s efforts to help others around the world that suffered loss from natural disasters. Should not that same government treat its own citizens with the same respect?”