WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement regarding his vote in favor of the Senate Farm Bill, which passed today by a vote of 79-14:
“After listening to the needs of Oklahoma’s agricultural community, I decided to vote in favor of the Senate Farm Bill.” Inhofe said. “The Senate Farm Bill maintains a strong safety net for the farmers and ranchers of America who provide us with the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. Thankfully, numerous proposals were defeated during debate of the bill that would have undermined this safety net.
“I am pleased that the Senate adopted necessary and modernizing reforms within the Farm Bill. It also reauthorized and strengthened rural development programs that continue to promote rural economic development across Oklahoma.”
“One important provision in the Senate bill provides transitional assistance to farmers to produce bioenergy crops, an issue Congressman Frank Lucas and I have worked together to accomplish. While Oklahoma has long been a leader in oil and natural gas production, we are quickly emerging as a leader in the field of cellulosic biofuels. Today, world-class scientists and farmers across Oklahoma are working to develop high-yield feedstocks to fuel cellulosic biorefineries.
“I am particularly pleased that the Senate Farm Bill includes two provisions addressing poultry waste, one of the most pressing issues facing Oklahoma agriculture. Specifically, this bill includes my amendment authorizing the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to establish a ‘Poultry Sustainability Research Council’ aimed at identifying new ways to address poultry waste. The Council will focus on the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the industry. During a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, of which I am the Ranking Republican, Oklahoma State University Professor Mike Dicks testified about the need to harness the potential of this resource, rather than treating it simply as a waste. There is great promise in creating energy from animal waste, and my amendment will ensure we pursue all options for utilizing this by-product.
“Likewise, I am also pleased the Senate Farm Bill designates, at my request, the Illinois River Watershed as one of the priority areas for regional water programs. Such a designation makes the watershed eligible for coordinating various USDA conservation initiatives to work together to address the needs of northeastern Oklahoma.
“I look forward to a quick resolution between the House and Senate bills so that farmers and ranchers can begin the New Year with the certainty of a federal farm policy.”