Farmers could have say on farm bill policy

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Farmers are getting a chance to tell the federal government what they think about national farm policy. The 1996 Farm Bill, which has set the tone for agriculture policy on the national level for five years, expires in 2002 with crop harvests. Before new policy is formed by the Bush administration, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and Colorado Agricultural Statistics Service are surveying Colorado producers about legislation and taking those views to Capitol Hill.

The survey the National Agricultural Policy Producer's Survey also will include thousands of farmers and ranchers in 25 other states.

"Colorado producers have a unique opportunity to get their views to those writing this bill," said Andy Seidl, Colorado State Cooperative Extension public policy specialist. "Because Colorado, unlike many states, has a representative on both the Senate and House agriculture committees, we're better able to help Colorado producers be heard. I strongly encourage ranchers and farmers who receive this survey to take a moment to fill it out and represent Colorado's agricultural needs. An individual's input on this survey represents as many as 10 fellow Colorado producers and provides valuable information at home and in Washington D.C."

The information provided through the survey will be a valuable part of the farm bill debate, said Seidl. A new farm bill, which will directly impact the profits of Colorado's agriculturists, is already being debated in Congress. Survey results may contribute to farm bill programs and policies affecting agriculture in the future.

Producers who will receive the survey will get a copy in the mail within the next few days. Participation is voluntary, confidential and anonymous. Return postage also is provided.

"Producers' willingness to complete this survey and represent the views of Colorado agriculture in the national effort are essential to the success of this project and to the future farm bill."

Preliminary results from the survey will be available online in September at http://www.dare.agsci.colostate.edu/extension/pubs html under educational programming. The results also will be presented in town meetings throughout the state after they are compiled.

For more information, contact the Colorado State Cooperative Extension office in Moffat County, 824-9180, or contact Andy Seidl at andrew.seidl@colostate.edu or (970) 491-7071.

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension brings the resources of the university to Colorado residents to help them learn more about healthy eating, personal finances, community resources, agricultural technology, food safety, dealing with changes in their community, family relationships, and managing ranchettes or small acreages. (Submitted by the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office).

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