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May 21, 2015

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406

Counter-clockwise from top left: U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, third from right, visits with Talladega County farmers David Wilson, Del and Carolyn Hill, and Sharon and Jimmy Hugh White during the May 21 Congressional breakfasts. Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell welcomes U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions to the afternoon luncheon. Blount County farmers Dennis and Kay Maze, Fayette County farmers Debbie and Joe Roberts and Mobile County farmer Anthony Faggard stand in front of the Capitol.

Meetings with Alabama Congressmen highlighted the final day of the Alabama Farmers Federation Washington Legislative Conference.

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions addressed more than 100 Federation members during a luncheon at the Dirksen Senate Building in the nation's capital.

"The Federation consistently stands for values that I think make the state (of Alabama) great and for values that we all share," Sessions said.

Sessions discussed agricultural issues, focusing on trade policy and problems with the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

"(Under the proposal), even a wash or a spring would be controlled by the federal government, and that was not what was intended when we created a limited government," he said. "I think WOTUS a big issue, and we're going to keep fighting it."

Shelby said he recently finished visiting Alabama's 67 counties because he wants to make sure he is accessible and accountable to his constituents.

"I plan to run for my sixth term, and I will run on my record of helping the people of Alabama," Shelby said. "The year 2016 is going to be a tipping point for America. I think we can do better."

Earlier in the day, Alabama's seven U.S. representatives shared breakfast with Federation members from their districts and discussed concerns facing Alabama farmers at home.

Mobile County beef cattle farmer Anthony Faggard said he appreciated having one-on-one time with U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne.

"We talked about the World Trade Organization ruling on Country of Origin Labeling that came out Monday and how that can directly impact the price we get for our beef products," Faggard said. "We're fortunate we have a representative who shares a lot of our views, and we thanked him for his support."

The conference concluded at the Australian Embassy where Minister-Counsellor of Agriculture Dr. Chris Parker provided an overview of agriculture Down Under. Parker said there were many similarities between farming in Australia and the U.S., including dealing with feral swine. However, Australian farmers also battle feral camels and water buffalo.

For photos of the Washington Legislative Conference, visit the Federation's Facebook page.

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