Fighting for Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Communities
Our nation's prosperity is tied to the prosperity of our rural communities. This is certainly true in Colorado, where farming and ranching are a proud tradition and a vital part of our economy. The people of rural Colorado work the land, and they persevere in the face of drought, scarce resources, freezing temperatures and scorching heat so that our state and country can have a reliable, safe, high-quality supply of food.
Because of the tremendous importance of agriculture and rural communities to Colorado, my first request as a United States Senator was to serve on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Here are my priorities:
- Implementing the Farm Bill and Maintaining a Strong Safety Net: Ensuring the Food and Conservation Act of 2008 is implemented quickly and correctly is one way we can do right by farmers, ranchers and rural Colorado. I support a robust farm safety net and targeting support to farmers who need it most.
- Building a New Energy Economy: Agriculture and rural America are at the heart of economic recovery and national prosperity. Beyond production of basic commodities-livestock, food and feed-agriculture is poised to become the engine of a new renewable energy economy. Colorado has plenty of wind, sun and open land. Our economic future is tied closely to the ability of our rural communities to develop these resources. The 2008 farm bill included a host of programs designed to speed research and development of third-generation biofuels, construction of renewable energy facilities, and generation of wind energy. I will make sure these farm bill programs are working to the benefit of Colorado. Through my new chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Energy, Science, and Technology, I will work tirelessly to advocate for additional energy initiatives, such as construction of new transmission lines, financing for energy efficiency, and development of third-generation biofuels that will enable Colorado to transform itself into a renewable energy powerhouse.
- Conserving Natural Resources and Agricultural Land: The value of Colorado's open lands extends beyond livestock and crop production. Open lands purify water, affect its flow and provide wildlife habitats. Valuing conservation, we must work together to preserve our dwindling open and agricultural land.
- Ensuring Fair, Open and Competitive Agricultural Markets: Agricultural producers need transparent, fair, and competitive markets in order to make a living. I will work to improve market fairness for agricultural producers.
- Expanding Opportunities for Existing and Beginning Farmers: Attracting young farmers to agriculture and capturing new markets is important for small and large agricultural producers. I will work to expand niche and overseas markets and link farmers to local economies through farmers markets and partnerships between farms and schools.
- Investing in Rural Communities: Filled with willing workers, entrepreneurs, and creativity, Colorado's rural regions are essential to our state's economy. I will seek additional opportunities to support small businesses and towns, and create good jobs throughout Colorado. We can also improve rural infrastructure by increasing access to high-speed internet and cell phone service.
- Protecting Colorado's Forests: The mountain bark beetle epidemic and years of drought have intensified the need to protect communities, find uses for woody biomass, protect water resources, and plan for the future. I am working with the Colorado delegation to bring national attention and additional funding to the forestry challenges facing Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.