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Farm Bill-Working Beyond the Fields in Colorado

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March 12, 2007

The farm bill isn't just for farmers; it also plays a critical role in fighting hunger in Colorado. Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are in Denver today for a hearing designed to check up on how the bill is working, and where it needs improvement. Shawna Kemppainen with the Care to Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado says the bill's nutritional side helps stabilize low-income families.

"The Emergency Food Assistance Program turns farmers' surpluses into food for hungry families. The Food Stamp program now reaches about 250,000 Colorado households, over half of them with kids."

The farm bill is up for reauthorization this year. The Senators say, in addition to food stamps, they also want to make sure it helps keep ranchers and farmers on their land. Food Stamps and other emergency food programs are part of the bill. Shawna Kemppainen points out that those programs not only help families but also communities.

"Every five dollars that a family spends in food stamps generates $9.40 in economic activities in the community."

Kemppainen says the farm bill determines the five year budget for the anti-hunger programs.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO