Farmers and ranchers are currently facing the highest energy costs on record. In fact, farmers’ fuel expenses for 2005 exceeded their 2004 fuel expenses by 37 percent or roughly $5 billion dollars.

We are particularly concerned about high natural gas prices, because they factor into fertilizer, irrigation and heating costs. For example, this spring, the average price for ammonia fertilizer for crop production was $521 per ton … more than double the cost in 2002. That’s quite a hit to the pocketbook, any way you look at it.

It’s clear that high energy costs are going to remain an unfortunate fact of life, unless aggressive efforts are made to promote exploration and development of domestic natural gas resources. That is why we are urging House members to cast “yea