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Farm Bill Includes Forest Health, Livestock Provisions Udall Championed to Reduce Wildfire Risks, Support Colorado Agriculture

Udall Led Effort to Include Conservation Stewardship Contracting, Good Neighbor Authority, Permanent Livestock Disaster Assistance in Bill

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heralding the recently announced agreement to pass a bipartisan and deficit-reducing Farm Bill, Mark Udall welcomed the inclusion of several critical forest health and ranching provisions he championed, including additional drought protections for ranchers and cost-effective, common-sense tools to confront the growing problem of wildfire.

Udall said the inclusion of Good Neighbor Authority and Stewardship Contracting in the Farm Bill — which allow agencies to work collaboratively across state and local boundaries to reduce wildfire risks and promote public-private partnerships to manage forest health, respectively — shows how he has successfully pressed his colleagues to confront modern mega-fires and protect Colorado's way of life. Udall also said the Farm Bill's inclusion of permanent livestock disaster assistance, a bipartisan idea he led the effort to pass, shows his colleagues heard his urgent calls to give ranchers and cattle operators the assurance they need to continue to boost local economies and feed the nation.

"I have fought in Congress to ensure the Farm Bill reflects Colorado priorities and supports our way of life. These critical provisions, which will support Colorado's job-creating ranching industry and help protect Colorado communities from the growing threat of wildfire, are important victories for the Centennial State," Udall said. "But these important first steps should not be our last. I will keep fighting to ensure Congress does not lose sight of Colorado and its economy."

Udall has been an unwavering advocate for a bipartisan and deficit-reducing Farm Bill. He successfully partnered with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who served on the Farm Bill conference committee, to include the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in the bill.

Udall has introduced stand-alone legislation that would permanently reauthorize Stewardship Contacting authority and successfully fought to move legislation that would expand Good Neighbor Authority. Udall has partnered with the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to push the U.S. House of Representatives to act and pass a deficit-reducing Farm Bill.

Udall also spearheaded a bipartisan effort to ensure ranchers have access to the same disaster assistance as farmers. He led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee last August pressing it to ensure ranchers across the country have access to a strong and permanent safety net.

By: Alyssa Roberts
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