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Cultivator — September 11, 2015

Vilsack Visits Farmers In West Alabama

Hale County catfish farmer Bill Kyser, left, hosted a farm tour for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, Aug. 12. Vilsack stopped in west Alabama to announce new grant funding and talk with Alabama farmers about agricultural issues.

The nation’s top agriculture official was in west Alabama Aug. 12 announcing rural grants and talking to farmers about regulations and foreign trade.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, was joined by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, to announce $4.9 million in funds for economic development projects in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.

“The investments USDA is announcing in Alabama are vital to protect public health and safety and improve the economic well-being of the state’s rural residents,” Vilsack said.

Sewell said the grants will help make needed improvements in her district.

“Farming is our state’s largest industry and the largest industry in my district,” she said. “We want to do everything we can to promote agriculture here and to help our farmers continue to be successful and to create new opportunities.”

Following a town hall meeting in Linden, Vilsack and Sewell visited with Alabama catfish farmers at Kyser Catfish Farm in Greensboro.

They discussed foreign fish imports, which are seldom inspected when they enter the U.S. Foreign fish are often produced under standards outlawed in America. Vilsack pledged to seek increased inspections of imported fish.

“I really tried to humanize our catfish farm when I was talking to Secretary Vilsack,” said Bill Kyser, a member of the Alabama Farmers Federation State Catfish Committee. “Our farm is a business, but it’s a family farm. There are a lot of families just like mine who work hard to make a living farming.”

Farmers also talked with Vilsack about research, predatory birds and increased federal regulations.

Visit for a list of projects Vilsack announced.

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PDF: Cultivator — September 11, 2015

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