WASHINGTON Six members of the Colorado congressional delegation sent a letter to the House and Senate agriculture committees Wednesday expressing their support for a farm bill this year.
The 2008 Farm Bill expired in September, although parts were extended through the so-called fiscal cliff deal in January.
The Senate passed the 2012 Farm Bill last June, and the House Agriculture Committee passed a different version the next month. But when the 112th Congress ended in January, the bills needed to start over again in the current Congress, the 113th.
The letter was signed by Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, D-Colo., and U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez; Cory Gardner, R-Yuma; Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden; and Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.
There is, of course, nothing Congress can do to prevent the next drought from occurring, they wrote. But lawmakers in Washington can provide a responsible five-year policy road map for agriculture through the Farm Bill. Reauthorizing this important legislation would inject certainty into the entire food-supply chain from processors, to transporters, to consumers and provide farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to manage the dry conditions and to plan for the future.
The politicians noted Colorados $40 billion agricultural sector in the letter.
For farmers and ranchers in the Centennial State, whether or not they can borrow money is based on what the Farm Bill looks like, Bennet spokesman Adam Bozzi said.
Bennet is a member of the Senate committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Tipton is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.
In April, Udall and nine other senators sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry asking the committee to add funding for livestock disaster assistance programs to the 2013 Farm Bill.
The senators want to provide aid similar to federal crop insurance available to farmers to livestock producers across the country in the face of drought conditions.
Stefanie Dazio is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.