Agriculture is such an important industry to our great State and contributes $70.4 billion to Alabama’s economy.
Congress plays an important role in supporting the farm economy through the Farm Bill. H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 which just passed the House Agriculture Committee, should be on the House Floor for a vote soon.
As the only member of the House Agriculture Committee from the great state of Alabama, I work hard to make sure I represent the needs of our farmers and agriculture industry in the Committee and especially every five years when the Farm Bill rolls around.
This year, there were many important pieces of the Farm Bill that could positively impact Alabama.
First, it supports American farmers and producers by maintaining and strengthening our key farm commodity programs.
Next, for our more rural parts of the country, like many parts of the Third Congressional District, it authorizes substantial annual appropriations for rural broadband and requires USDA to establish forward-looking broadband standards.
It also strengthens the suite of rural development initiatives to promote jobs and economic activity in these rural areas where employment is down because of the sharp downturn in the farm economy.
These initiatives are important because they will help provide critical infrastructure where it is needed most and help folks find good-paying jobs in areas work has been scarce.
For our land grant schools, like Auburn and Tuskegee, the Farm Bill helps keep agriculture at the forefront of innovation and productivity through cutting-edge research and support of land grant schools. It also establishes a scholarship program at 1890 Land Grant Institutions, like Tuskegee, designed to assist students interested in agriculture.
Finally, it enforces and strengthens current work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, while protecting benefits for the elderly, children and the disabled. The bill increases funding for Employment and Training from $90 million to $1 billion over three years. It’s common sense and helps SNAP become a stepping stone to success, rather than a long-term government hand out.
I’m proud of the work we were able to accomplish this year in committee, and I appreciate Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and his leadership on the bill. I look forward to House passage of this critical legislation very soon.
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