Colorado Politicians Sound Off on Agricultural Policy

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Cory Gardner recently spoke out on the farm bill, agricultural labor policies, and farm subsidies.

In the latest farm bill hearing, held on the Campus of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, Senator Bennet promised farmers that a new farm bill would be passed by the end of September. For the past several months, with politicians focused on the upcoming presidential election, farmers and ranchers have worried that a new farm bill would not be passed by the expiration of the current bill.

Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told farmers that his colleagues were planning on introducing new farm legislation by the early summer in order to have a new bill in place by the end of 2012.

Bennet also tried to reassure farmers that his colleagues in the Senate were capable of working together to pass vital legislation. In light of the unusually heated atmosphere on Capitol Hill, many farmers are worried that politicians are more interested in scoring cheap political points than working together to address the needs of the farm community. Given the fact that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already agreed on $23 billion in agricultural spending cuts, Bennet believes that the Senate will be able to do its job by September.

In addition to the farm bill, Congressman Cory Gardner recent spoke about agricultural labor laws, addressing a recent ruling by the Department of Labor, which would  limit the ability of minors to work agricultural jobs. Gardner criticized the Labor Department’s ruling as “screwy,” stating, “Our children, especially the next generation of agriculture need experience and there are so few experienced individuals in production agriculture today they may or may not be able to get it from their parents. We shouldn’t restrict them from getting an experience in agriculture just because it’s not their parent’s farm or ranch.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer