Rick Palkowitsh, a Burlington corn farmer, joined Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today at a meeting of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee on the 2012 Farm Bill, drought, and wildfires. Bennet invited Palkowitsh as part of his efforts to bring Colorado leaders to Washington to share their ideas and commonsense solutions to the challenges facing the country.
"Colorado farmers and ranchers -- like many others across the country -- have seen the worst drought in decades hit their bottom lines," Bennet said. "I have heard from Rick and producers all across my state that the best way we can help them is to pass the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate has passed its bill with broad, bipartisan support, and it is time for my colleagues in the House to act to ensure these farmers and ranchers have the certainty they need."
Palkowitsh, who also serves as chair of public policy for the Colorado Corn Growers Association, participated in a round-table conversation with senators and members of the agriculture and fire safety communities. The discussion focused on this year's extreme weather and the 2012 Farm Bill, which contains wildfire and drought assistance.
Bennet has been a vocal advocate for passage of the Farm Bill. He spent much of August traveling across Colorado visiting with farmers and ranchers to see drought conditions firsthand. He traveled along the Eastern Plains to visit Harman Brothers Farms in Otis, Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford, and Crowley County Ranch. He also toured Bagwell Ranch in the San Luis Valley.
In July, 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.
A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Bennet was honored with the American Farm Bureau's "Friend of the Farm Bureau" award and the National Farmers Union's "Golden Triangle" award for his work on agriculture policy and legislation supporting rural communities.