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Senate Farm Bill Good for Colorado Farmers

DENVER>>Immediate Senate action on a farm bill could mean an increase of 33 percent in much-needed assistance for Colorado agricultural producers over the next five years, Farmers Union said today. Under current programs, Colorado receives just over $237.18 million per year in farm payments. With passage of the farm bill, that number increases to $355 million.

Using statistics from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute and Senate Agriculture committee, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union estimated this significant increase in farm assistance under S.1731 from what is provided in current farm law. Nationwide, passage of the Senate Agriculture Committee farm bill proposal would mean an $8.8 billion increase to farmers and ranchers. “It is difficult to understand why the Senators Campbell and Allard have tried to stop this farm bill from passing when it means so much to farmers and ranchers and the rural Colorado economies that depend on them,” said John Stencel, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “Farmers and ranchers are struggling to survive under the imbalance between input cost and what they receive for the commodities they produce. Those who continue to work against a farm bill this year are turning their back on those who feed and clothe our nation.”

Two key amendments to S.1731 will strengthen the bill immensely. One provision to prohibit packer ownership of livestock, and another to give farmers greater power in contract negotiations, won on slim margins in the senate.

“To his credit, Senator Campbell voted for both of those critical amendments,” said Stencel. “Despite strong pressure from a variety of farm groups, Senator Allard’s voting record in this debate remains a disappointment.”

The Senate will have another opportunity tomorrow to move the farm bill forward so it might pass before adjournment. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is encouraging farmers and ranchers to contact Senators to urge passage of a farm bill this year.