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CONGRESSMAN HENRY CUELLAR VOTES IN SUPPORT OF THE FARM BILL
Measure to help ease the strain on rising food prices
Washington, DC- Today, U.S Congressman Henry Cuellar joined a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives by voting in support of the Conference Report on the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill. The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 318-106, is expected to expand food security programs, protect vital natural resources, promote healthier foods and local food networks, and reform commodity and biofuel programs to reflect the nation’s priorities.
The bill, which includes a total of $286 billion in funding, will increase nutrition programs by $10.36 billion that will help 38 million families afford healthy food and $1.25 billion of vital assistance to food banks, including $50 million that will address shortages at food pantries. The bill also assists schools in providing healthy snacks to students, with $1 billion being used for more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Congressman Cuellar was also able to secure important provisions in the Farm Bill, including the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program that ensures that this initiative will be adequately funded and implemented. This program calls for research and grants to be made available to study cattle fever ticks to facilitate understanding of the role of wildlife in the spread of cattle fever ticks. Also included is information to improve the management of diseases relating to cattle fever ticks that are associated with wildlife, livestock, and human health.
A reform in farm programs is also included as part of the bill, which includes a standing disaster assistance program for crops stricken by catastrophic natural disasters such as drought and flood. It also provides supplemental income when farmers are struggling and makes food labeling of the meat supply and produce mandatory.
Conservation programs will also be boosted by $7.9 billion to help reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water and air quality, and increase wildlife habitat and reduce damage caused by flood and other natural disasters. Fruit and vegetable owners will also benefit from more than $1.3 billion for new programs that support research, pest management, trade promotion and nutrition for the industry.
The bill also invests $1 billion in renewable energy focusing on new technologies and new sources, including $320 million in loan guarantees for biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels.