Washington, DC – On Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate appointed to serve on the bipartisan Farm Bill Conference Committee held a public meeting as work begins to produce a final Farm Bill that can pass both chambers. During the meeting, members delivered opening remarks highlighting the shared goal of strengthening the farm safety net during a time when net farm income is down by 52 percent from where it stood five years ago and farm bankruptcies are up 39 percent over the past two years.
“Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina – contributing more than $87 billion to our state’s economy,”said Congressman David Rouzer. “We all know that America’s farm families are facing a great deal of uncertainty, which is why producing a strong Farm Bill is critically important. As the Chairman of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, I am pleased that both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill include provisions to make investments in animal disease preparedness as well as establish an animal health vaccine bank with a primary focus on protecting livestock from the very devastating Foot and Mouth Disease. I look forward to working with my colleagues to produce a final product that will serve our farm families and the American people well.”
“Today my colleagues in the House and Senate highlighted the urgency in farm and ranch country and just how desperate times are as net farm income is expected to fall again this year,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway. “I’m thankful to have David on the conference committee as a strong advocate and critical voice for production agriculture in this farm bill conference. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe we can and must get this done on time.”
The agriculture industry contributes $87 billion to North Carolina’s economy, accounting for more than 17 percent of the state’s economy, and employing 17 percent of the state’s workforce. As the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, Congressman Rouzer led efforts to authorize and fund $450 million to enhance the USDA’s ability to identify, diagnose and respond to potential animal disease outbreak, including $150 million in year one to establish a new U.S.-only vaccine bank with priority for stockpiling Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine.