Bennet, Udall pressure House on farm bill
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall wrote in letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying "reauthorizing this legislation is the single best thing lawmakers can do to provide relief and certainty to our farmers and ranchers suffering from drought."
The Senate passed its version of the farm bill last month. The House Agriculture committee passed earlier this month its own version of the bill, which some believe is too expensive.
House Republicans have been unable to decide whether to pass it, support a one-year extension of existing programs or pass a drought aid bill, The Hill reported.
The farm bill authorizes tools farmers and ranchers can use to manage risk from pests, volatile commodity prices and adverse weather like this summer's drought, according to the senators.
The farm bill would renew programs important to the state's agricultural producers, including the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
"Passing the Farm Bill will put these programs into effect for fiscal year 2012 and ensure that ranchers can depend on these resources in the future," the letter reads.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently declared Colorado's counties, including Weld and Larimer counties, as disaster areas due to drought, excessive heat and high winds. The declaration makes farmers eligible for emergency loans.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced this week additional help for livestock producers.
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Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village,