Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement on the decision by House leadership to adjourn until the election without passing the 2012 Farm Bill, which would provide much-needed assistance to farmers and ranchers nationwide experiencing severe drought conditions. The Senate passed its bill in June with broad, bipartisan support. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of this month.
"Colorado farmers, ranchers, and rural communities deserve far better than having the Farm Bill languish in Congress," Bennet said. "Producers in my state and all across the country have suffered through one of the worst droughts in decades, while Congress has failed to pass this bipartisan bill that would offer immediate assistance. The House of Representatives has both the Senate bill and its own bill which passed out of committee, yet the full House adjourned without bringing either up for a vote. I urge the House to schedule a vote on the Farm Bill as soon as it returns to Washington."
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. Some of his visits included Harman Brothers Farms in Otis, Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford, Crowley County Ranch, and 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.