Colo. lawmakers call on Congress to pass five-year farm bill

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Mark Udall (D) signed the letter with Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D), Scott Tipton (R), Cory Gardner (R) and Mike Coffman (R).

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The lawmakers said their state’s $40 billion agriculture industry was hit hard in 2012 from record droughts and that the reassurance of a farm bill would help provide certainty for those farmers and ranchers suffering.

“There is, of course, nothing Congress can do to prevent the next drought from occurring. But lawmakers in Washington can provide a responsible five-year policy roadmap for agriculture through the Farm Bill,” the letter stated. “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."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he’d like to begin work on a Senate farm bill this month. 

Last year the Senate passed a farm bill that would have reduced spending by $23 billion on a bipartisan vote of 64-35. But the House farm bill never made it to the floor. 

A new Congressional Budget Office score of last year’s Senate bill found that it would now only save $13 billion in spending, which likely will not be enough to satisfy Republicans. Last year's House farm bill cut $35 billion, largely through cuts to the food stamps program.