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RMFU dismayed with disaster relief

DENVER-Colorado’s Governor has requested that 25 additional counties within Colorado be declared disaster areas according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. This is in addition to the three counties that were requested earlier this year. Farmers and ranchers throughout the region are suffering continued hardships due to triple-digit temperatures, searing winds and continued drought.

The Senate just passed the FY2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, 98-1, without disaster assistance for America’s farmers and ranchers. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law soon, as early as Friday, June 16.

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) is dismayed that the House leadership and the Bush administration decided some disasters are more devastating than others, and eliminated the Senate-passed $3.9 billion disaster assistance.

“Over a billion dollars has been fraudulently spent on the Katrina disaster,” said John Stencel, RMFU President. “Somehow Congress has determined that this is a better use for funds than assisting disaster stricken rural America. We feel that Congress should recognize all types of disaster across our nation in its efforts.”

While a group of bipartisan Senate negotiators worked to include broad based disaster assistance, House leadership and the Bush administration steadfastly opposed the aid and ultimately won approval of the measure without the needed assistance.

“I am disappointed with the prevailing attitude in our Nation’s Capital for the men and women who produce an abundant supply of the safest and highest quality food in the world,” said Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., during the Senate debate. “This bill is literally leaving them out to dry.”

“As I travel across Colorado, I hear from farmers and ranchers who have been consistently hit by disaster emergency after disaster emergency,” continued Sen. Salazar. “With the rising cost of fuel and other interest costs, this problem can and only will get worse.”

RMFU and National Farmers Union will continue pursuing options on Capitol Hill to address the much-needed disaster relief for ALL types of disasters.