that reason, farm leaders in the two states appealed to the 13
Congressmen who came to Alabama to apply any cuts that might result from
the deficits as equitably as possible.
just ask that cuts in the federal budget be done across the board
equally," said Jerry Newby, a north Alabama farmer who is president
of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
said the current Farm Bill cost "less than what was originally
projected" and, for that reason, "we feel agriculture should
get credit for these savings."
Congress implement sharp cuts in the 2007 budget and the Farm Bill, it
could only add to the troubles being experienced by southern farmers
already hurt by weather and economic problems.
year’s devastating hurricanes along the Gulf Coast cost farmers
billions of dollars. In addition to that, damage to offshore oil
operations increased energy expenses throughout the country.
high fuel costs are eating us to death," said U.S. Rep. Collin
Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.
Corcoran, Jr., a cotton and peanut producer from Barbour County, told
the committee that there are "few certainties" in the world of
as producers of agriculture commodities can control very few things, a
fact that was really driven home last fall when Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita slammed into the Gulf Coast."
said the two hurricanes not only destroyed crops in the hard hit areas,
they also sent "shock waves" through the U.S. economy as fuel
prices skyrocketed during the critical harvesting period.
noted that many farming factors such as fuel, fertilizer and commodity
prices are out of the control of those who depend on them.
is why we need a stable and consistent farm policy," he said.
"It provides the essential foundation upon which we build long-term
plans. We have such a policy in the ’02 Farm Bill."
Reps. Jo Bonner of Mobile, Mike Rogers of Anniston and Terry Everett of
Rehobeth were among the congressional delegation sitting on a stage,
facing a panel of farmers from the two neighboring states.
here to find out what our people in Alabama want," said Rogers.
"So are the other members of this committee."
addition to farmers, Congress also is seeking input from ranchers,
agribusiness interests and government officials as it prepares for the
new Farm Bill.
is another entity that could benefit or suffer from the Farm Bill and
Richard Brinker, the dean of Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife
Sciences, was on hand to listen to the testimony.
said the current Farm Bill includes incentives which provide help in
prescribed burnings, insect and disease control and other aspects of a
multi-billion dollar annual industry in Alabama.
average size of timberland in Alabama is about 80 acres," Brinker
said during a break at the hearing. "Timber is cut every 15 to 20
years and that’s why it’s important to have government support for
purpose of the field hearings is to give federal lawmakers a clearer
picture of agriculture needs and to separate programs that may have led
to successes or failures.
farm bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that not only involves
farm programs, but conservation, nutrition, forestry and trade among
other issues," said U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from
Virginia who is chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.
Benn is a freelance writer from Selma.