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Senate votes 92-0 for agricultural disaster aid

WASHINGTON (Sept. 14, 2004) – National Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson applauded U.S. senators this evening for approving $3 billion in emergency disaster aid for farmers and ranchers. After the voice vote, he issued the following statement:

“I strongly commend the United States Senate for the adoption of an amendment to the homeland security bill to provide emergency disaster assistance to farmers and ranchers nationwide who have suffered from weather-related disasters during either 2003 or 2004. The assistance to crop and livestock producers is needed because of the tremendous economic damage that has occurred as a result of drought, flooding, frost and hurricanes.

“Disaster assistance is long overdue, but the Senate’s action is the first step in a long legislative process to help remedy the severe economic damage that has occurred in rural America. We encourage quick passage of the homeland security legislation that contains the disaster assistance, and also encourage the House to adopt a similar provision.” The farm leader commended the following senators for their “outstanding efforts” in getting the disaster amendment adopted: Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; Mark Dayton, D-Minn.; Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; Patty Murray, D-Wash., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and others.

John Stencel, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, also commended the bipartisan effort in attaching the amendment for disaster assistance to the homeland security appropriations bill. “National Farmers Union worked very hard to create a bipartisan effort to pass the amendment, which was evident by the 92-0 vote of the Senate,” said Stencel. “Farmers Union also worked hard to create the coalition of farm organizations adding their support to passage of disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers across the country. This amendment will greatly help the producers in the Rocky Mountain West who have been suffering from drought for the last six years. We will continue to work hard to make sure the House adopts a similar provision.”