Mark Udall welcomed the U.S. Senate's bipartisan vote today to pass the 2012 Farm Bill, calling it a victory for rural America, economic development and job creation.
"Our nation's agricultural economy supports more than 16 million jobs and accounts for billions of dollars in commerce," Udall said. "I am pleased the Senate was able to set aside election-year partisanship to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that strengthens American agriculture and our economy, while reducing our deficit. This bill will not only provide long-term certainty for Colorado's farmers and ranchers, but it also will bolster one of the most important sectors of our economy."
The Senate overwhelmingly supported two significant amendments from Udall in the final Farm Bill. His amendments:
Double the funding for bark beetle mitigation from $100 million to $200 million.
End taxpayer subsidies for political party conventions.
"I was pleased the Senate strongly endorsed these bipartisan, common-sense amendments to the 2012 Farm Bill," Udall said. "It is my hope that the House follows suit and approves the legislation. This bill will help grow Colorado's economy."
In addition to the Udall amendments, the 2012 Farm Bill includes several other critical provisions related to forest health, including streamlining U.S. Forest Service administrative processes so that it can conduct more efficient and effective treatments for insect and disease infestations. This streamlining provision is similar to language included in Udall's National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act, which was initially considered by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 2010. The 2012 Farm Bill would also reauthorize Stewardship Contracting, which allows the U.S. Forest Service to contract with small businesses to remove forest products from federal land in an effort to improve, maintain and restore forest health; improve wildlife habitat; and reduce the risk of forest fires.
The 2012 Farm Bill is projected to reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next 10 years. Udall has been an active proponent of quickly passing the 2012 Farm Bill and getting it to the president's desk. The 2008 Farm Bill expires at the end of September.