Ga. ag commissioner speaks on the progress on the nationwide farm bill

The commissioner said he is optimistic about a new farm bill being approved before the current one expires in Sept.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:09 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With a fundamental part of Georgia’s and many southern states’ economies being agriculture-based, the nationwide farm bill is top of mind for many. And with the current farm bill ending in September, where does the work on the current bill stand? WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke to the Georgia agriculture commissioner about where he believes the status of the bill is.

You just returned from Washington, D.C. where you were talking about the farm bill. What can you tell us about its progress right now?

“Jim, thank you for having us on. Good to be with you. And we did just get back from D.C. We had a phenomenal trip to Washington. I led a delegation of a lot of our Georgia legislators who are also actively involved in agriculture are what I like to call our farm caucus in the general assembly. And we went to D.C. just specifically to have a talk about the importance of AG policy and the farm bill and the importance of that to Georgia agriculture and why it’s important to ensure that we have a farm bill that works for Georgia, that works for Georgia agriculture, that allows our ag industry and our #1 industry across this state to be successful. Because at the end of the day, Ag success. Our #1 industry success is our state. Access and so giving, ensuring that we have the right policy to allows our farmers, producers and ranchers across this state to be successful is vital to ensure that our #1 industry continues to be successful and we had a really great meeting with our congressional delegation. We met with a lot of our bipartisan with a bipartisan Delegation, including Congressman Bishop from there in Southwest Georgia. Both our US senators and the majority of our Congressional delegation, and we were very pleased with the with those meetings and I think they’re on track to try to get a farm bill across the finish line. Before the current one expires later this year in September and they’re very cautiously optimistic about that,” Georgia Ag Commissioner Tyler Harper said.

People might not realize how competitive the farm bill is between the crops and between sections of the country.

“It is so when you get into the farm bill, it’s not as much partisan as it is regional,” Harper said. “You know, you have a conversation around Iowa corn versus Georgia. And that’s what makes it, you know, a very interesting debate and you also in some cases see some very interesting coalitions of legislators and so. So that’s it. When it comes to Georgia, though, you know we were taking that message related to our Georgia. Commodity specifically where whether it’s peanuts or cotton or Peach crop or everything in between and talking about reference pricing related to our current commodities and the way that works in the farm bill, crop insurance and the way that works. And maybe some additional help in the crop insurance route related to our specialty crops, but also having in-depth conversations about the specialty crop industry here in here in our state and the impacts when it comes to keeping our playing field level, just ensuring that those Georgia commodities, we’re at the forefront in our visit.”