Farmers in Alabama, and the rest of the country, are facing challenges, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) said in a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing a couple weeks ago.
The meeting was to discuss the 2023 Farm Bill. The bill will be used to fund programs to help farmers, rural communities, and federal nutrition programs.
During the hearing, Tuberville said, “I hope we all understand that our farmers are in trouble across the country. We’re losing them in our state, I don’t know about the other states, with diesel so expensive, with fertilizer so expensive.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the next farm bill will have an estimated $648 billion baseline budget over five years and a nearly $1.3 trillion baseline budget over 10 years. The last farm bill was passed in 2018 at $428 billion.
Tuberville said many farm owners are selling to developers, which is causing states such as Alabama to lose more of its farm land to those moving from up north.
“Urban people are moving south to Alabama,” he said. “And you can’t blame some of our farmers for selling out cause they can make a living. They can make money off their land, and sooner or later we’re going to have to figure out we’re going to have to eat in this country, so hopefully in this farm bill we will be able to help those farmers, especially in the rural areas.”
He said one of the main priorities of the new bill has to be helping those in rural communities have access to faster internet.
“You know we’ve had internet for 20 years and we haven’t made a lot of progress with internet,” he said. “We’ve got to get broadband. We keep talking about it, and it’s all about education. I spent 40 years in education and being somebody that understands some kids that don’t have the opportunity, we continue to talk about it, but it doesn’t work … We just flushed trillions of dollars into the economy.
“If we don’t get it now, we’ll never get it.”
This will be the first farm bill Tuberville will have an opportunity to vote on since being in the Senate.