Senators Push for Timely Consideration to Provide Certainty to Farmers, Ranchers, Rural Communities
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined his colleagues in the Senate Agriculture Committee in urging Senate leadership to take up the 2012 farm bill for consideration. In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senators asked for timely consideration of the bill that affects millions of Americans across the country and that recently passed out of committee with broad bipartisan support.
“According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, nearly 16 million jobs are related to agriculture,” the senators wrote in the letter. “But, federal farm policy impacts more than those directly involved in agriculture or living in rural areas. We need to act soon to complete a farm bill in 2012 and provide certainty for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, other stakeholders, and all Americans.”
The 2012 Farm Bill was approved by the senate Agriculture Committee, of which Bennet is a member, by a 16-5 vote and includes several provisions that Bennet introduced or cosponsored in response to input he received at more than 20 farm bill listening sessions he held across Colorado. The bill contains significant farm policy improvements and reforms, consolidates and streamlines programs and would reduce the deficit by $23 billion. It renews the programs that govern our national agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry policy. The 2008 Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2012.
Click here for additional Colorado priorities Bennet secured in the underlying bill.
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell:
With our constant focus on job creation, we write to urge you to schedule floor consideration of the “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012” as soon as possible. The bill takes steps to reduce the deficit and decrease government spending by $23 billion. It passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on April 26 with a bipartisan vote of 16 to 5. This sets an example of how Senators can come together in a bipartisan way to craft meaningful, yet fiscally responsible, policy.
We believe there is strong support in the full Senate to consider the bill in a fair and open manner that allows Senators the opportunity to offer amendments. Current authorities for farm risk management, nutrition, conservation, and other farm bill programs are set to expire at the end of this year. According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, nearly 16 million jobs are related to agriculture. But, federal farm policy impacts more than those directly involved in agriculture or living in rural areas. We need to act soon to complete a farm bill in 2012 and provide certainty for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, other stakeholders, and all Americans.
We very much appreciate your recognition of the need for timely action on the farm bill.