Stop Part of Eastern Plains Tour Focused on Growing Jobs, Addressing Drought Conditions in Colorado's Rural Communities
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today toured Harman Brothers Farms and heard from young farmers from the region on the challenges facing young people who want to stay in farming and ranching.
“Colorado’s agriculture industry has been a strong economic driver in our state for generations,” Bennet said. “We need to make sure the next generation of farmers have the tools they need to continue that tradition. That is why Congress needs to pass a long-term Farm Bill that provides more tools and certainty for farmers and ranchers in Colorado. It also will help ensure that landowners and producers can preserve the integrity of their farm and ranchland for future generations through important conservation programs.”
The visit is part of a two-day swing through Colorado’s Eastern Plains that will highlight the need to create jobs, support family farmers and ranchers, and boost economic development in Colorado’s rural communities.
The Senate passed a five-year Farm Bill extension, which includes programs to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities cope with drought, such as livestock disaster programs, that are paid for as part of a bipartisan agreement. The bill includes $23 million in deficit reduction along with reforms to eliminate direct payments and to strengthen crop insurance programs.
The bill also contains a Bennet-backed amendment to increase resources for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. This program provides competitive grants for education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives in support of beginning farmers and ranchers.
The Farm Bill also includes a strong conservation title that Coloradans worked closely with Bennet, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, to preserve. The Senate is waiting on the House of Representatives to pass a bill that can be reconciled with the Senate bill.
Last month, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor to urge the House to take up and pass a full five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill. He also sent a letter to House leadership, along with Senator Mark Udall, urging passage the bill, which includes vital resources to assist farmers and ranchers suffering from the drought.