By Debra Davis
Alabama farmers are hopeful they laid a foundation for future stability and protection from overbearing government regulations when they met with leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture this week.
U.S. Rep. G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., is ranking minority member of the committee and toured catfish, cattle and row crop farms in Alabama along with growers in Mississippi and Georgia. He discussed issues and concerns with farmers that included environmental regulations, tax laws and trade.
U.S. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., who also serves with Thompson on the House Agriculture Committee, attended portions of the tour.
“Trips like this are extremely important to me as a leader on the agriculture committee, and it’s always great to work with committee members like Congressman Moore,” Thompson said. “I see myself as a voice for American agriculture, and different areas of the country have different crops. There are no cotton fields in Pennsylvania, and we don’t grow peanuts or raise catfish. But the regulatory concerns farmers are facing and their fear over tax changes and other issues are common threats to every American farmer, rancher and forester.”
Thompson shared his personal cell number with farmers and encouraged them to call with future concerns. He also asked farmers to help surface solutions to problems facing American agriculture.
“This trip isn’t a one-and-done for me,” Thompson said. “I’ve walked away with a lot of great information and with new contacts. I also want to push farmers to help provide homegrown solutions.”
Moore, who joined Thompson in Shep Morris’ cottonfield Tuesday afternoon, said he appreciated Thompson’s focus on building relationships and visiting farms throughout the country. Moore also expressed optimism about Republicans regaining control of the House, which would elevate Thompson to chairman of the Agriculture Committee.
“We only need to flip four seats in the House during the next election cycle to make that happen,” Moore said. “It’s very important for our state and for our farmers to have a voice in the process and with G.T. as chairman, we will have influence about what happens in agriculture.”