Committee Holds First Farm Bill Hearing

Feb 6, 2006

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte today convened the first hearing to review the 2002 Farm Bill. This is the first in a series of hearings the Committee plans to conduct to hear from producers around the country. The sixteen members of the Committee attending today’s hearing heard from two panels of witnesses representing the diverse agricultural interests of North Carolina. The Committee will travel to Auburn, Ala. tomorrow for the second farm bill hearing.

“As we travel throughout the nation, the feedback we receive from our producers will give us a good sense of how our farm policies work in practice and what improvements can be made within the financial constraints we face in Washington. Strong agricultural policy is vital to our farmers and ranchers. To ensure that American agriculture remains competitive and that our producers can continue to provide a safe, affordable, and wholesome food supply, we must hear from our producers,” said Chairman Goodlatte.

“It is good to be out in the countryside talking with producers. The Committee intends to conduct a variety of hearings throughout the country which will give us a broad view of the agriculture sector and will give us the chance to learn about aspects that exist outside of our districts. The farm bill incorporates all of agriculture, so it is important that we have a good understanding of all of the pieces so we can write a farm bill that truly meets the needs of our producers,” said Ranking Minority Member Collin Peterson.

Today’s hearing took place in Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee Chairman Robin Hayes’s district. The hearing was open to the public and attracted about 135 attendees. “I think it is significant that the first farm bill hearing is taking place here in North Carolina. Agriculture contributes $62.6 billion annually to the state’s economy, and we are leading producers of turkeys, hogs, sweet potatoes, and trees. With agriculture being the number one industry in the state, you couldn’t have picked a better place to hold the first hearing,” said Rep. Hayes.

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Panel I
Mr. David L. Burns, Cotton, Timber and Soybean Producer, Laurel Hill, North Carolina

Mr. William Brent Jackson, Fruit, Vegetable, Corn, Wheat and Soybean Producer, Autryville, North Carolina

Mr. Larry Martin, Corn, Wheat and Soybean Producer, Mount Olive, North Carolina

Mr. David Godwin, Sweet Potato and Fruit Producer, Dunn, North Carolina

Mr. Bo Stone, Soybean, Sweet Corn, Cattle and Swine Producer, Rowland, North Carolina

Mr. Dan Ward, Peanut Producer, Clarkton, North Carolina

Mr. Ronnie Burleson, Corn, Cotton and Soybean Producer, Richfield, North Carolina

Panel II
Dr. Robert Cooper, Tree Farmer, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Mr. John Queen, Cattle Producer, Waynesville, North Carolina

Ms. Tina Smith, Grape Grower, North Carolina

Mr. Tommy Porter, Swine Producer, Concord, North Carolina

Mr. Dan Kerns, Poultry Producer, McLeansville, North Carolina

Mr. Jeff Bender, Dairy Producer, Norlina, North Carolina