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Colorado Senator Michael Bennet’s staff is planning to do one of its continuing schedule of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Bill listening sessions in Chaffee County.

Staffer Erin Minks announced that the staff is looking at the morning of October 5 for a session in Chaffee County, with the location still being finalized, but most likely on the southern end of the county (More information will be shared as it is received.)

“We have some folks coming from the Agricultural Committee in D.C. and we’d like to introduce them to Chaffee,” said Minks. “Yes, we’re covering production agriculture, but you do so much more here — forest projects and wildfire mitigation, rural housing and health programs.”

Minks encouraged the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) and county residents to follow what is happening with the U.S. Farm Bill, which is renewed every five years. “We encourage you all to pay attention to the Farm Bill, pay attention to the scale of it,” added Minks. “Its the biggest rural bill that the U.S. Congress works on every five years.”

The last time Congress approved a farm bill was in 2018. Then-president Donald Trump signed the farm bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) on Dec. 20,  reauthorizing $867 billion for expenditures approved by Congress.

There are several components of the Farm Bill; a partial list includes commodity programs, conservation, trade, nutrition programs, rural development, energy, rural credit programs, crop insurance, forestry, and horticulture.

Over the next few weeks, Ark Valley Voice will be exploring each component and what they mean to the American economy, and the economy of American rural areas.

We’ll begin next week with the Title I Commodity Programs including the dairy margin protection programs, the Farm Service Agency, agricultural risk coverage, and Title II Conservation Programs.