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Bill Championed By Merkley Passes Senate
The U.S. Senate has passed a five year farm bill. The final bill contains several programs championed by Senator Merkley, including disaster relief for Oregon ranchers, low-cost loans for rural energy renovations, and improved crop insurance for organic farmers.
“Whether it’s wheat in the east or vineyards and berries in the west, all of Oregon benefits when we have a strong farm bill in place,” said Merkley. “I’m pleased that this bill contains help for Oregon’s ranchers and farmers who suffered in last summer’s historic wildfires, as well as new financing options for our rural energy consumers, fairer crop insurance for Oregon’s organic farmers, and strong support for specialty crop research.”
Last year, Senator Merkley introduced the Wildfire and Drought Relief for Ranchers and Farmers Act of 2012 to provide disaster relief to ranchers and farmers who were hit by devastating natural events last summer. This included ranchers and farmers in Eastern Oregon who suffered from the worst wildfires in 100 years. Four key disaster relief programs had expired at the end of 2011, leaving farmers and ranchers who lost livestock or grazing land last summer few options. The provision reauthorizing them is contained in the farm bill that passed today. It would provide retroactive relief to farmers and ranchers who were hit in 2012, in addition to covering future losses.