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Emergency Farm Relief Act introduced

Denver, Colo.>>>Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) President Kent Peppler, farmer from Mead, Colo., commends Senator Ken Salazar, D-Colo., for his leadership in the introduction of emergency disaster assistance.

“The economic impact of natural disasters on family farmers and ranchers, most recently a considerable loss of livestock, requires Congress to act swiftly on the passage of comprehensive emergency disaster assistance that is multi-year,” said Peppler.

Sen. Salazar joined with a bi-partisan group of senators to introduce the “Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007” which will provide comprehensive emergency disaster assistance to those being impacted by the immediate emergencies of this winter, but also provide appropriate and much needed disaster assistance to family farmers and ranchers for their losses due to natural disasters in 2005-06.

“The survival of many farmers, ranchers and small businesses in rural communities across the region will depend upon Congress providing disaster assistance,” said Peppler. “We commend Sen. Salazar for working in a bi-partisan manner toward this goal. We call on all members of Congress to support this legislation and act in a timely manner.” Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas and parts of Oklahoma have been hit hard by severe winter storms, which have resulted in the estimated loss of 15,000 head of livestock in Colorado alone. As this winter progresses and additional complications arise, the loss of cattle will rise. The impact on losses during spring calving is still an unknown.

County governments are also suffering with the huge cost increase of keeping rural roads passable that serve the farmer and rancher. “FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) needs to step forward immediately to provide resources to assist the counties in opening and keeping roads passable,” Peppler said. “We expect that FEMA will step up and help just as they do when natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes strike,” Peppler stated.

RMFU is committed to working with elected officials at the state and national level to make sure the needs of those impacted by natural disaster are met. “The natural disasters of the past number of years and the inaction by Congress to address these disasters in rural America, clearly point out the need to include permanent disaster legislation in the development of food and farm policy this year,” concluded Peppler.