Bennet tours Ardent Mills; assures attendees the 2018 farm bill will get done
The finish line to pass a new farm bill is less than a year away, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said it would get done, despite this year’s track record in Congress.
September 2018 is when the current bill is up for renewal, and according to The Hagstrom Report, on Nov. 8 Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said the House Agriculture Committee is prioritizing tax reform and budget issues so the focus won’t switch to the farm bill until early next year.
Bennet was in Commerce City, Colo., last week for a tour of Ardent Mills. The mill was built in the 1930s, but Ardent has only called it home for less than four years. The wheat mill works with Colorado State University and Colorado wheat producers to help develop flour and other wheat products for the general public.
The tour included a glimpse into the cleaning, separating and packaging process at the mill. The mill uses air and computer technologies to clean the strands of wheat and get the parts needed to make different types of flour.
According to a news release, the mill processes about 40,000 bushels a day.
The wheat farmers who work with Ardent Mills also work with Colorado State University to produce new varieties of wheat.
TRADE AND GROWTH
Before the tour began, Bennet assured about 15 people in attendance, that despite the lack of progress in Congress on issues such as health insurance or tax reform, which haven’t been resolved, that won’t be the case with the farm bill.
He said agribusinesses, like Ardent Mills, are a sector he wants to see more growth in to strengthen agriculture in general.
But to help farmers when commodity prices are low, Bennet said trade was a large factor important to the farming community.
“I think one of the things we have to do is make sure we have vital trade relationships to be able to drive those prices up,” he said. “You see a lot of growth in Colorado at a higher margin with agriculture-related businesses and I’d like to see that continue,” he said after the tour of the facility.
As to Bennet’s thoughts on what will be key to helping producers dealing with low commodity prices in high-yield years worldwide, “ … making sure that crop insurance is strong and make sure we’re doing this in the backdrop of these commodity prices is key in the farm bill.”
— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, email@example.com or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.