DENVER >>> Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) members will join more than 70 family farmers and ranchers in Washington, D.C., Monday, Mar. 27 through Wednesday, Mar. 29 to visit with members of Congress from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming to discuss weather-related losses; a Congressional attack on food labeling rights of state governments; and, the upcoming 2007 budget and farm bill debates.
“The rural economy of the Rocky Mountain region has deteriorated at as a result of skyrocketing energy inputs, weather-related disasters, and the loss of businesses in communities like Lamar and LaJunta,” said RMFU President John Stencel. “RMFU members will tell our congressional representatives that agriculture, conservation, nutrition and rural development programs are not the cause of the record deficit and therefore they should not seek to reduce the deficit on the backs of America’s farmers and ranchers nor our rural communities.”
In February, President Bush delivered a budget proposal to Congress that cuts more than $5 billion from programs vital to farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The budget proposal, while cutting programs important to rural America, proposed extending and expanding tax breaks for America’s most wealthy. During the legislative visits, RMFU members will express their support for legislation that would provide comprehensive emergency disaster assistance for weather-related losses. In addition to the extensive loss of crops and livestock wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, farmers and ranchers have faced continued losses with major drought conditions and the extensive wildfires that have affected communities across the nation.
RMFU members will also be visiting with U.S. Senators from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming urging opposition to legislation passed by the House of Representatives that would strip states of their ability to ensure food safety. HR 4167 was passed without a public hearing and over the objection of 39 state attorneys general, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of State Agricultural Departments, various consumer and farm organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
“Food safety should not be lowered to the point of “political science” demonstrated by the action taken by the House of Representatives who seem willing to sell safety of American’s health for large campaign contributions,” said Stencel. “As stated in the editorial of the Denver Post, HR 4167 even erodes the states’ ability to get contaminated food off the market. This legislation must be stopped in its tracks.”
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union members participating include Ken and Dallas Anderson, Center, Colo., and Leland Swenson, Centennial, Colo.