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RMFU Urges Senators to Move Forward on Farm Bill

DENVER>> Today Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) President Kent Peppler sent letters to the six senators from Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, urging them to support cloture on the farm bill and get the legislation back on track for passage. Of the six, only Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) supported the unsuccessful cloture vote last week.

“America’s farmers need to know what programs are going to be in place so they can make informed decisions for the upcoming planting season,” said RMFU President Kent Peppler. “The farm bill should not be used to light up the Christmas tree for narrow special interest groups!” When the cloture vote occurred last week, the Senate was faced with more than 300 amendments, many of them with absolutely no relevance to food and farm legislation. According to the most recent information, over 100 additional amendments have been filed since the failed cloture vote.

The letter to the senators said, “The farm bill unanimously approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee was a fair, feasible farm bill including the needed permanent disaster assistance and investments in conservation, nutrition, renewable energy, and specialty crops. America’s food security depends on the economic viability of farming and ranching.” Peppler’s letter concluded, “America’s consumers depend on the federal government to see that our food and fuel needs are managed through appropriate legislation. America’s farmers and ranchers depend on our federal government to see that their contributions to our national goals are recognized and rewarded. A timely farm bill that fosters rural economies is vital.”

United States Senate is expected to take up another cloture vote upon returning from the Thanksgiving holiday. Traditionally the last piece of major legislation passed during the congressional session is amended to include a number of special interest projects and programs that members wish to deliver to their state or district. The 2007 farm bill is the final major piece of legislation this year, and many of the Senators that oppose cloture are attempting to attach their special interest legislation.