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Rural Group Urges Wisconsinites to Speak Out about the Farm Bill

PHOTO: John Crabtree
PHOTO: John Crabtree
September 25, 2012

LYONS, Neb. - Critical rural development and beginning-farmer programs are at risk of having their funds evaporate because Congress has failed to pass a 2012 Farm Bill. John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs says the clock is ticking.

"We've come to the 11th hour, we don't have a Farm Bill, Congress has not taken action, and the window that they have to take action is rapidly closing."

Crabtree says as members of Congress come back to their home districts in the next few weeks to campaign, it's important for people to talk to them. He wants people to tell their representatives they need a Farm Bill, one that's done right.

"People have an opportunity to let them know that it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable not to have a Farm Bill; it's unacceptable to not invest in rural development programs that help small business development and community development; it's unacceptable to reduce conservation funding to just the bare minimum."

The CFRA spokesman says there is great power in people talking directly to their representatives in Congress.

"We cannot underestimate the value of people standing up and saying they want a Farm Bill, they want investment in rural development, they want investment in conservation, they want a Farm Bill that works for rural communities and for our family farmers, and particularly the next generation of farmers and ranchers."

Crabtree says that, if nothing is done, important conservation programs and rural assistance programs will be capped at 2012 funding levels, which means many farmers and ranchers, particularly younger people just getting started, will not be able to get assistance and will have to be put on waiting lists to enroll in programs that are critical to rural economic development.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI