WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oregon Congressman Bob Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, today announced that he and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), a moderate republican active in enviornmental issues, have reached agreement on Smith's Forage Improvement Act of 1997 (H.R. 2493), legislation to provide stability for western family ranchers and improve management on public rangelands, and that Boehlert would support the bill in House floor action expected Wednesday and Thursday.
"I appreciate Rep. Boehlert's willingness to work through these issues with me and I'm confident that we have forged the most substantial benefit for western family ranchers to come before the full House in two decades. Rep. Boehlert was concerned that the bill not hurt the environment, and it does not. I have always been concerned that we give livestock producers who graze on public lands the stability and predictability they need, and it does. We've incorporated several minor changes with which we are both satisfied, so it's on to the floor," Smith said tonight.
The Forage Improvement Act is the product of several months of consultation with state and national livestock associations, individual livestock producers, interested Members of Congress, and environmental groups, and enjoys overwhelming support in the western livestock community. The bill is expected to be debated tomorrow evening, October 29, and a vote is expected on Thursday, October 30. On September 24th, the bill cleared the Committee on Agriculture by an unanimous voice vote. The measure cleared the Committee on Resources on October 22nd by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 22-7.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District, which includes most of eastern, central, and southern Oregon, in the U.S. House of Representatives.