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September 09, 2008

Inhofe Awarded ‘Friend of Farm Bureau'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) received the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award by the American Farm Bureau for his continued support of agriculture during the 110th Congress. Senator Inhofe has been given the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award in every Congress since he took office.

"I want to thank the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation for honoring me with the ‘Friend of Farm Bureau' award," said Sen. Inhofe. "Agriculture is vital not only to our state's economy, but to the prosperity of the entire nation. I am committed to addressing the needs of our farmers and ranchers. Whether it's leading the fight to lower the cost of fuel and feed or providing federal assistance for severe weather, we are working together to ensure Oklahoma continues to be a national leader in agriculture."

"Sen. Inhofe has been and continues to be a strong, effective advocate for the farmers and ranchers of Oklahoma," said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling. "We commend Sen. Inhofe for his commitment and support of the state's agriculture community."

Senator Inhofe is working closely with the communities of rural Oklahoma to enact policies that protect the family farm and keep the American food supply safe, reliable, and affordable.

Since 2003, Sen. Inhofe has secured over $43 million for Oklahoma agriculture including chloride control at the Red River to enhance southwest Oklahoma drinking water and agricultural irrigation. These investments ensure Oklahoma's agricultural industry remains strong and continues to grow.

This year, Senator Inhofe worked to enact the the 2007 Farm Bill.  Included in the bill was a provision which Senator Inhofe worked with Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) to develop and enact, providing transitional assistance to farmers who produce bioenergy crops, like switchgrass and sorghum.  Oklahoma has long been a leader in oil and natural gas production, and is is quickly emerging as a leader in the field of cellulosic biofuels.  Today, world-class scientists at Oklahoma State University and the Noble Foundation are working with farmers across Oklahoma to develop cellulosic bioenergy crops which do not compete with feed for livestock.  Also included in the bill was a provision authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to give priority consideration to grant proposals that address unique regional concerns such as finding innovative methods and technologies to allow agricultural operators to make use of animal waste, and specifically poultry waste, for use as fertilizers, energy production, and other useful byproducts aimed at identifying new ways to create an environmentally friendly use of poultry waste.

In the 110th Congress, Senator Inhofe has sponsored and cosponsored important legislation to address the issues facing rural communities:

-Sponsor of S 3271 to fix restrictions on farm vehicles transporting goods across state lines, a problem faced by a number of farmers in Oklahoma and around the country.

-Cosponsor of S 3337 to reinstate critical feed use (CFU) program to give farmers access to grazing lands in times of severe drought.

-Cosponsor of the Livestock Assistance Act of 2007 (S 165) to aid farmers and ranchers who have been severely impacted blizzards and ice storms in 2006.

-Cosponsor of S 1716 which passed by unanimous consent to ensure aid is properly allocated to livestock producers affected by wildfire, drought and other natural disasters.

-Cosponsor of the Agricultural Protection and Prosperity Act of 2007  (S.807) a bipartisan bill to ensure that Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are not faced with federal liability for the reasonable use of fertilizers.

Furthermore, Senator Inhofe has consistently fought to ensure Washington bureaucracy does not impose unreasonable burdens on Oklahoma agriculture. As the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sen. Inhofe worked with Oklahoma farmers to halt an unreasonable EPA proposal to increase regulation on Oklahoma's farmers under the Clean Water Act and EPA's CAFO rule.  He is continuing to advocate for Oklahoma's farmers with EPA for a reasonable oil spill program and a clear, concise federal "waters of the U.S." definition. 

Finally, Senator Inhofe has consistently fought to ensure federal agencies balance the need to protect private property rights and economic impacts with the goals of protecting threatened and endangered species which has resulted in an important species review of the American burying beetle which is the first step toward removing this prevalent species from the endangered species listing providing needed regulatory relief for Oklahoma agricultural producers and a habitat review of the Arkansas River shiner in Western Oklahoma ensuring that Oklahoma's agricultural organizations have a voice in future regulatory decisions.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's congressional award program is known as the "Friend of Farm Bureau."  This award is given to those individuals who have supported Farm Bureau issues, as shown by their voting records, and who were nominated by their respective state Farm Bureau and approved by the Board of Directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation.  The voting records were based on priority issues selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors.




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