Alabama farmers have hand in crafting national legislation

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

TROY, AL (WSFA) - Members of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee were all ears as one by one farmers shared their concerns for an industry they say is facing serious obstacles--like droughts, flooding, and rising production costs.

The committee met with farmers at the Pike County Cattleman's Park in Troy.

"We don't want to stand idly by and see our programs cut when everybody else is spending goes crazy there," says Covington County cotton farmer, Ricky Wiggins.

Committee members called two panels made up of Alabama farmers to speak for farmers statewide and help Congress craft the 2012 Farm Bill.

One of them was Ricky Wiggins.

"The gist of my commentary is going to be fiscal responsibility," he adds.

Committee members--including 2nd Congressional District Representative Bobby Bright--admitted money will be tight in 2012.  It's all the more reason to get a clear understanding of what farmers need most.

"Let these leaders take it back to Washington, and voice those issues there and resolve those issues. That will be a victory that we can accumulate for the farmers here in our district," he says.

Farmers like Shep and Marguerite Morris showed up for two reasons.

"We came out here to get knowledge to see what's coming down the pipe," says Shep.

And to back the panelists.

"It's the type business where you have to be supportive of each other. You have to stay abreast of what's happening in the farming industry," adds Marguerite.

But no matter what congressional members take away, Wiggins has one request for the 2012 bill.

"That we be allowed to do what we do. And we think we do it in America and especially in Alabama, better than anybody else in the world."

Only the witnesses were allowed to speak before the committee, but that doesn't mean input from other farmers isn't welcome. In fact, the committee welcomes anyone to comment on the House Agriculture Committee's website.

The deadline to comment is June 14th.

The Troy hearing is one of eight the committee is holding nationwide.

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