With control of the U.S. Senate settled in an early December runoff, the 188th Congress is governing with some of the tightest margins in history in both chambers.
Farmers and congressional allies are also focusing on a new farm bill in 2023, with historically high input costs and labor shortages top of mind.
More than half the members of the U.S. House have never voted on a farm bill, which could complicate an already difficult prospect, said the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker. Authorization for most farm bill programs expires Sept. 30.
“Education and outreach to new members of Congress is a focus for the Federation this year and will be mirrored by state Farm Bureaus all over the country,” said Walker, the Governmental & Agricultural Programs Department director. “It is critical all members of Congress realize the farm bill is about food security for our nation. Food security is critical to national security. With continued unrest around the world and inflation continuing to strain consumers’ pocketbooks, it is vital that we pull together to pass a farm bill good for farmers and consumers alike.”
U.S. Sen. Katie Britt and U.S. Rep. Dale Strong are new additions to Alabama’s delegation. U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville will continue to serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and U.S. Rep. Barry Moore will serve on the House Committee on Agriculture.
Walker said Alabama’s delegation is well-positioned to help farmers.
“Having two members serving on their respective ag committees is important to the farmers of this state,” Walker said. “We’re also thankful for our other members who are well-suited to champion Federation priorities, including Sen. Britt and Reps. Jerry Carl, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Strong, Gary Palmer and Terri Sewell.”
With Republicans winning a majority in the U.S. House, chairmanship of the House Committee on Agriculture passes to U.S. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Pa., a familiar face to Federation members following his multiple visits to the state.
“Chairman Thompson is a great friend and has expressed his desire to pass a farm bill on time, which can be a challenge, while staying committed to passing a farm bill that works for all crops and regions,” Walker said.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., continues to hold the gavel as chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., will remain the committee’s highest-ranking Republican.