In Letter, Senators Urge Department To Support Ranchers, Tackle Western Drought, And Push Conservation Priorities
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and a dozen other Western Senators from both parties in a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to give equal priority to the urgent needs of Western growers and communities through existing authorities, new funding, and collaboration across government.
In the letter, the senators urge USDA to support Western farmers and ranchers to conserve water, improve water infrastructure and efficiency, protect lands at risk of erosion, and provide technical assistance for growers in regions affected by drought. The senators also urge USDA to better extend resources and staff to develop tailored solutions to help Western growers address the dire drought conditions.
“The American West is in crisis. Across the major basins of the American West – including the Colorado River Basin, the Rio Grande Basin, the Great Basin, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin, the Columbia River Basin, and the Arkansas-White-Red Basin – farm and ranch families hang in the balance as they grapple with a 22-year mega-drought,” wrote the senators in the letter. “The acute shortage of water for Western growers threatens productive farmland across our states, which are both a pillar of our rural economies and drivers of America’s food production.”
“American farmers and ranchers manage over 895 million acres of ground in the United States, giving them a vital role in combating climate change risks while continuing to feed America,” continued the senators. “Congress funded $20 billion for USDA agriculture conservation programs. We believe USDA should allocate these funds for agriculture conservation equally across the country to reflect the contribution of every region, including the West.”
The full letter can be found here.
Senator Rosen has diligently worked to combat Western drought and support Nevada’s water infrastructure. She helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $4 billion in funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to combat Western drought, including the Lake Mead and Colorado River Basin in particular. Senator Rosen helped secure over $55 billion in clean water initiatives through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which she helped write and pass. She was also instrumental in passing the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act.