CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2744, AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - October 28, 2005)
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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I will vote for this conference report for H.R. 2744, the ``Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Appropriations Act of 2006.''
While the amounts in the bill are not adequate to fully meet the needs of rural Colorado--and I'm disappointed that there isn't more--the fact is that the Federal Government is being forced to do more with less in a time of record budget deficits.
The conference report does include some important improvements over the House passed bill. This is particularly true as regards funding for conservation programs and rural development.
The bill also provides support for research programs that are important to Colorado State University, including work on infectious disease and ultraviolet radiation monitoring.
However, I am particularly disappointed with the conference committee's decision to continue to delay for another two years implementation of a mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for products such as meat and produce. The shortsightedness of the conference committee denies Colorado ranchers and farmers a wonderful resource to market their products and provide consumers a clear choice in the products they purchase.
I also am disappointed by the lack of consultation, consensus and public discourse that marked the process of developing the legislative changes the conference report makes to the National Organics Program. Such legislative changes should be done in the most transparent manner possible and I am disappointed this was not the case.
As this issue will certainly be revisited, I am hopeful the consumers, producers, manufacturers and supporters of organic agriculture can work together to advance this important part of agriculture in Colorado and around the country.
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