Whether you grew up in Alabama like I did or just moved here, it’s no secret agriculture is a huge part of Alabama’s DNA. In fact, agriculture is the largest industry in the entire state. I’ve always been proud of Alabama’s immense contributions to clothing and feeding people all over America, as well as all over the world. During my time in Congress, I’ve had many opportunities to learn more about Alabama agriculture, and I’ve taken advantage of multiple opportunities to support our farmers, ranchers, growers and producers from the federal level.
Last Tuesday was National Farmers Day, which is a time to recognize and thank the farmers who feed and clothe America. South Alabama alone is home to roughly 3,000 farms which have a total economic impact of close to $13 billion and support more than 100,000 jobs. To highlight the massive impact our local farmers have on our economy, I spent most of last week touring local farms and agriculture plants all around the First Congressional District to see and hear firsthand about issues affecting my constituents’ lives, livelihoods, and legacies.
My visits included row crop farms, lumber mills, and the new peanut shelling facility in Atmore, where we discussed everything from expanding Alabama’s export markets to crop insurance and labor issues. Being in the trenches with so many of these folks further opened my eyes to ways I can be a strong voice for our farmers in Washington and continue to have their backs. One thing our farmers and producers made clear is they need the federal government to support them, but the federal government needs to stay out of their way and let them do their jobs.
Since January, I’ve taken several actions to support our farmers. I’ve cosponsored the Death Tax Repeal Act, which would permanently repeal the federal estate tax to protect family farms. Additionally, I sponsored an amendment to make permanent the Trump-era Waters of the United States rule, which would keep the federal government’s hands off farmers’ property. I’ve also cosponsored the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) Reauthorization Act to allow for disaster payments to farmers who suffered from hurricanes and excessive moisture in 2020 and 2021. Finally, I’ve cosponsored the Main Street Tax Certainty Act to make permanent a tax deduction benefitting over 90% of farmers and ranchers.
These pieces of legislation I’ve sponsored are just a few of the ways I’m fighting for our farmers in Washington. I’ll continue being a voice for our agriculture community, and I will always have the back of our farmers, ranchers, growers and producers who work day in and day out to feed and clothe America.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.