Mark Udall called on the U.S. House of Representatives to support Colorado families and agricultural producers by giving the bipartisan 2012 Farm Bill an up-or-down vote. The Farm Bill, which the Senate passed with broad bipartisan support, contains critical food-support programs and reduces the deficit by $23 billion over 10 years.
"A friend and former state legislator once told me, "If you eat, you're in agriculture.' I couldn't agree more. And that is why I am calling on my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to have the courage to give the Senate Farm Bill an up-or-down vote before the holidays," Udall said. "The Senate bill is a fiscally responsible way to support Colorado families, farmers and ranchers while also making common-sense, cost-cutting reforms. Rural Colorado and our families deserve some long-overdue certainty."
Udall pointed to four specific facets of the Senate Farm Bill that would benefit Colorado farmers and ranchers:
Strengthens and Reinstates Livestock Disaster Programs for 2012: The Senate Farm Bill strengthens disaster-assistance programs and makes them retroactive to address the current drought of 2012. The bill also provides permanent funding and authority for the Livestock Disaster Programs, including: the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP), and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP).
Improves Crop Insurance to Protect Against Disaster: The Senate Farm Bill makes crop insurance more effective for farmers when they face natural disasters by helping producers maintain their Average Production History (APH) by increasing the county transition yield from 60 to 70 percent when disasters strike.
Supports Specialty Crop Growers without Crop Insurance: The Senate Farm Bill allows producers without access to crop insurance to purchase 65 percent "buy-up" coverage for losses under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). This coverage is made retroactive for fruit producers who faced losses due to frosts and freezes in 2012.
Strengthens Conservation Efforts to Prevent another Dust Bowl: The Senate Farm Bill's conservation title provides farmers and ranchers access to the tools they need to conserve and keep our nation's natural resources as resilient as possible, even in the face of dry conditions, drought and other natural disasters.
Udall has been an avid supporter of the 2012 Farm Bill and has repeatedly called on the House to quickly pass it.
Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has led the charge to include a strong forestry title in the 2012 Farm Bill, including within it provisions to renew the authority for stewardship contracting and double the annual funding for bark beetle mitigation.