Alabama Farmers Are In Washington D.C.

More than 200 Alabama farmers are in Washington D.C. this week meeting with lawmakers to discuss the future of the states agricultural industry.

They are hoping the government officials continue to protect farmers dealing with economic difficulties.

Farmers from all across the state are getting ready to plant their crops for this year.

However, many are concerned about several issues that are facing the states agricultural industry.

Issues like high fuel costs and the farm programs that were implemented back in 2002, which farmers hope congress will continue.

Members of Alabama Farmers’ Federation are taking these concerns to Capitol Hill.

Stanley Usery said, "The 2006 farm year looks kind of bleak for the Alabama farmer due to the high energy costs of diesel fuel and also fertilizer. As we're up here this week talking to our Congressmen and our Senators, we're trying to persuade them to keep the current farm bill as we have it right now, to extend it for two more years, to try to convey that safety net for the farmers as we go through these economically hard times."

Other issues on this week’s list of items include farm labor and concerns over the recent case of mad cow disease discovered in Alabama.

Lawmakers in Washington say they are ready to listen to these concerns and work together with farmers before passing the upcoming 2007 farm bill.

Congressman Jo Bonner said, "We'll have a front row seat to make sure that Alabama's interests are protected in the House, plus we've got the benefit of the rest of our delegation working with us and two great senators in Jeff Sessions and Dick Shelby. So we should not be anxious about the upcoming farm bill but we've got to be realistic. It's going to be different from the current one. We've just got to be sure that those differences are not to our detriment."

Farmers hope that this week’s discussions will result in a strong farm policy for the next couple of years.

A policy they say will hopefully allow them to stay in business and continue providing Americans with the safest and most affordable food products.

The house and senate agricultural committees have asked congressional budget committees not to make any further cuts in farm programs as they prepare to begin working to formulate the new farm bill.