(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted in favor of the 2007 Farm Bill. It passed the House by a vote of 318 to 106.
“I am supporting this Farm Bill because it is long overdue and it is important to creating a strong farm policy and safety net for Eastern Washington farmers and ranchers so they can meet the food and fiber needs of the American people. It is not a perfect bill, but a bill this size never is. The bill includes provisions to help Washington wheat growers, expand markets and research for fruit and vegetable growers, encourage alternative energy efforts, support rural development including health information technology, and bolster nutrition programs.
“Ag is a $1.1 billion dollar industry in Eastern Washington. I was honored to serve on the Conference Committee to help put together the final bill and to work to protect the interests of Washington state growers.
“Without a doubt, this is a historic farm bill for fruit and vegetable growers. The bill funds research, helps maintain and open international markets, and gets more fruits and vegetables into our schools.
“It maintains a safety net for our wheat growers. Commodity prices are high today, but that has not always been the case. In fact, in the past ten years, average prices for wheat have been between $3.50-$4.00. With rising fuel and fertilizer costs, that price no longer would allow the farmer to break even.
“Representing the Palouse, the lentil capitol of the world, I am disappointed that dry peas and lentils were not placed on equal ground with other commodity crops and that they were the only ones to see a decrease in the loan rate from the previous year.”