APPROPRIATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2006--CONFERENCE REPORT--Resumed -- (Senate - November 03, 2005)
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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, while I recognize there are good things in this bill, today I will be voting against the Agriculture appropriations conference report for two primary reasons. One, it delays the implementation of the country- of-origin labeling for beef and other foods. U.S. consumers deserve to know where their food is grown and processed, and domestic producers deserve the opportunity to differentiate their products from foreign imports. While mandatory country-of-origin food labeling passed as part of the 2002 farm law, its implementation continues to be delayed and this bill would delay it an additional 2 years.
My other primary concern is that the bill cuts funding for many important conservation programs, such as the Conservation Security Program. Since the farm bill was enacted in 2002, the USDA conservation programs have taken hits year after year. They have been used repeatedly as a source of offsets to fund other needs. Including this conference report, the annual appropriations measures from fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2006 have cut $1.13 billion in mandatory funds that we dedicated to conservation in the farm bill.
I appreciate the hard work of the chairman and the ranking member, but what came back from the House is not good for our Nation's farmers, it is not good for consumers, and it is not good for conservation. I will, therefore, be voting against it.American people.