WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 - Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) today urged the House leadership to include the farm bill in its “final list of things to be done” by the end of the year.

Stabenow and other farm bill supporters are leading an uphill battle to include the farm bill as part of a negotiated package to evade the “fiscal cliff.”

“I am appalled continually that the Republican leadership of the United States House of Representatives does not consider the security, the livelihood of 16 million people who live in rural America across this country to be a priority,” Stabenow said on the Senate floor. “Now, we're not giving up. We're coming back next week and we're going to be here. And we are ready at any moment to be able to do what we need to do.”

Stabenow also urged senators to approve an amendment, offered Dec. 18 by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), to the Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill that would extend livestock disaster assistance for one year. In addition, Amendment #3367 would extend Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provisions for tree and fruit growers.

Stabenow said this year farmers endured the worst drought since 1956, and that more than 80 percent of the nation experienced drought conditions over the summer.

“That's a disaster. That's a disaster,” she said.

Extreme weather also brought late freezes to many states, Stabenow said, that “wiped out fruit crops.”

“In my home state, late freezes in the spring caused cherry producers to lose practically their entire crop right off the bat,” Stabenow said. “It warmed up, the buds came out, then they had a deep freeze - killed everything.”

She stressed that while she supports the amendment, she wanted to remind lawmakers that the provisions would not negate the need for a five-year farm bill.


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