Farming and ranching is the cornerstone of rural Colorado's economy, and it has always been an integral part of our way of life.
Agriculture production is the cornerstone of rural Colorado's economy, and it has always been an integral part of our way of life. In fact, the agriculture and food industry contributes over $40 billion annually to our state’s economy. America’s growing population continues to increase the demand on agriculture producers, who face a unique set of challenges, including water scarcity, access to public land, and increasing environmental regulation.
As the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I am committed to preserving the prosperity of American agriculture by ensuring that our farms and ranches are both safe and productive. I will advocate for policies that allow farmers and ranchers to continue to provide job opportunities for rural America, affordable food for our citizens, and an economic engine for our communities.
I frequently hear the concerns of many family farmers and ranchers who are facing a mountain of new federal regulations. We all understand that some federal regulation plays a role in keeping our country safe; however one-size-fits-all, excessive regulation is unnecessarily harmful to rural communities.
Providing greater regulatory relief—especially from legislation or agency rules that are duplicative and bring no added environmental or food safety protection—will enable agricultural communities to flourish and help get the nation back on the path to prosperity. While our nation’s farmers are expected to continue meeting the needs of a growing population, unnecessary regulations that increase burdens on America’s family farms are making production more costly and challenging—hurting jobs and economic recovery.
Agriculture in the 114th Congress:
- Country of Origin Labeling: On June 10, 2015, I supported the House passage of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015 (H.R. 2392), which amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to repeal the country of origin labeling requirements for beef, pork, and chicken. Country of origin labeling requirements are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and require a retailer to inform consumers of the country of origin of a covered commodity. The requirements have led to some countries imposing astronomical tariffs on U.S. products. On December 18, 2015, the president signed a funding bill into law that lifted the labeling requirements on beef and pork products.
- Genetically Modified Food (GMO) Labeling: On July 29, 2016, the president signed into law a bill that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop and finalize regulations for labeling food containing genetically modified ingredients. I did not support the passage of this bill in the House, because the mandatory labeling provision creates a gateway for additional unnecessary labeling requirements and is yet another example of federal overreach.
- Trade: Congress passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in June 2015. The TPA facilitates a greater role for Congress in directing goals for international trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In 2016, the TPP was signed by leaders from the United States and the eleven Pacific Rim nations. Congress must vote to enact the agreement before it goes into effect.
- Water: I support a common sense approach to water management that embraces conservation efforts, protects existing water rights, and takes steps to responsibly store water for our growing farms and cities. I stood up to the USDA when it decided to move forward with implementation of a permit condition to require the transfer of privately held water fights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. Language from my bill, the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1830), has passed the House three times in the 114th Congress.