June 29, 2017
Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick provided the opening statement to members of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture at the first Listening Session on the 2018 Farm Bill, June 24, at the University of Florida.
Hoblick emphasized that traditional crops such as corn, soybeans, peanuts, cotton come to mind when we think of the Farm Bill, but “our state’s agricultural landscape is comprised of a plethora of crops and commodities that are often forgotten in the context of the Farm Bill.”
“From avocados and tomatoes in South Florida to satsuma production in Monticello, to generations-old dairies in Okeechobee to experimenting with new crops such as olives and citrus alternatives, Florida agriculture cannot be matched in its diversity and uniqueness,” he said.
Hoblick stressed that Florida Farm Bureau supports national farm policy that includes a strong of risk management safety net for agriculture, funding for research that enhances the control of invasive pests and disease, specialty crop grants and a continuation of natural resource conservation programs.
Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long also provided testimony that stressed the importance of crop insurance programs and advocated for the protection of the current Farm Bill peanut program.
More than a hundred agricultural producers were present at the Listening Session. Attendees had the opportunity to address the committee and share their personal stories on how the Farm Bill impacts their livelihoods.
Audience members spoke on several topics including the current peanut program, funding a national foot and mouth disease vaccine bank for the livestock sector, improving the cotton safety net, reforming the farm labor policies and championing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
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