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Farmers Union applauds passage of assistance bill

The Utah Farmers Union commended the United States Senate last week, following the passage of a farm bill that will benefit Utah's farmers, ranchers and rural citizens.

"We are excited. Now the farmers and ranchers of our state can move forward knowing, going into next year's planning, where the farm bill will be and how they can utilize this on their own farms and ranches," said Utah Farmers Union President Art Douglas.

The senate farm bill supports producers by maintaining a strong safety net and creating a permanent disaster assistance program, a top Farmers Union farm bill priority.

"The farming and ranching community in this state has been drastically affected by extreme weather over the years, whether it be from drought, fires, frost or all of the above. I believe including a permanent disaster assistance program in the farm bill is an important step for Utah agriculture," stated Douglas.

The Senate farm bill also makes steps toward reform by increasing spending for nutrition, conservation, renewable energy and specialty crop programs.

Other highlights include a livestock competition title, including a ban on packer ownership, establishment of an Office of Special Council and voluntary arbitration. Additionally, the senate farm bill will allow for interstate shipment of state-inspected meat.

"Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was an early supporter of the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat legislation that will be beneficial for Utah's farmers and ranchers," said Douglas.

Douglas said thanks should go to the states representatives for passage of the measure.

The 2002 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30, 2007 and Douglas urged members of the house and senate to act quickly to pass a conference report and the president to sign the bill into law.

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