Mon February 20, 2012

Farm Bill Reauthorization Closely Watched in Colorado

The sweeping federal farm bill that allocates billions of dollars to subsidy and other agricultural programs is up for reauthorization later this year and Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is gathering input from farmers and ranchers across his Fourth Congressional District this week.  

The district spanning much of northeastern Colorado lies at the center of one of the country’s most productive agricultural regions. 

So the Farm Bill’s scheduled reauthorization this year – in an election year – is closely watched here. 

At a forum he organized Monday near Greeley, Representative Gardner said he’s worried Congress may move to only temporarily reauthorize certain programs since it’s an election year.

"I hope that’s not the case, I think the farmers and ranchers of rural America deserve certainty and I’d like to see it done this year," Gardner said.

But Anthony Shavert, who farms near the tiny town of Otis on the northeastern plains, is more worried about the Obama Administration’s plans to cut direct cash payments to farmers.  He says many wouldn’t then be able to afford disaster insurance.      

"They’re wanting to pull all these subsidies away which only amounts to $13.8 billion, which is really nothing compared to what they waste every day," Shavert said.  

The Congressman held a similar forum earlier in the day in Yuma, and has one more planned for Wednesday in Lamar.