U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers remarks to elevate the concerns of New Mexicans at the first public meeting of the Farm Bill Conference Committee in Washington, D.C. Click here to watch or download full remarks. Courtesy photo
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) delivered the following remarks elevating the concerns of New Mexicans at the first public meeting of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, focusing on trade, specialty crops, farming sustainability, dairy, and nutrition programs:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“This past month, I had the opportunity to meet with farmers and ranchers across New Mexico who rely on Farm Bill programs that support the hard work they do every single day.
“This Conference Committee is our opportunity to pass meaningful, bipartisan legislation that will reauthorize and improve essential programs that both protect the nutrition security of vulnerable Americans and serve farmers and ranchers for the next five years.
“I have worked with many of you to –
“Expand rural broadband development which spurs economic growth, creates jobs, boosts wages, improves health outcomes, helps our students learn, and increases crop yields;
“Expedite the review and approval of new and innovative conservation and water management technologies to help states like mine manage drought and water shortages;
“Strengthen Tribal sovereignty and consultation by empowering tribes to carry out forest management projects that improve forest health and cut through bureaucratic red tape; and
“Ensure that both Acequias and Spanish Land Grants can apply for EQIP and CSP funding which will help preserve our farmlands for generations to come.
“Rural America is facing new, difficult challenges, including extreme and persistent drought that is only getting worse, market uncertainty due to tariffs and trade wars, rising energy costs, lack of capital, and low commodity prices.
“Further, millions of families are still struggling to make ends meet.
“Roughly 461,000 New Mexicans (25% of the population) are on SNAP including thousands of veterans, children, and working-families.
“1 in 4 NM children do not know where their next meal is coming from.
“Last year, SNAP helped keep 76,000 New Mexicans, including 36,000 children, out of poverty.
“These are extremely complex issues that are sometimes a matter of life and death for producers and vulnerable New Mexicans.
“That is why it is so important that we support SNAP, SNAP-Ed, FINI, TEFAP, and other programs to ensure that everyone has access to nutrition.
“We must also find the balance between supporting farmers while protecting our environment, and facilitate the export of domestically-grown crops.
“Mr. Chairman, time is not on our side. We need to get this done.
Failure to pass a bill will harm New Mexicans whose livelihoods rely on programs that won’t be extended and support organic research, farmers markets, value added agriculture, and socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers and ranchers.
“Our constituents are looking to us to provide them with certainty and security.
“We owe them nothing less.
“I urge my colleagues to come together to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that is desperately needed by farmers, ranchers, and vulnerable Americans in every single one of our districts.”