Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01), Chairman of the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee, delivered the following opening remarks at today's subcommittee hearing entitled, "A Review of Animal Agriculture Stakeholder Priorities."
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Last month, we hosted the first hearing of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry in the 118th Congress. As a fifth generation Kansan having grown up on my family farm, I understand the grit, tenacity, and courage that it takes to make a living in agriculture. I represent the Big First district of Kansas where agricultural producers sell $10 billion worth of livestock, dairy, poultry, and products like beef, milk, and eggs every year.
"At that hearing, we heard from USDA officials about their work to protect the health of livestock in America. It is important that this subcommittee engages with USDA on that vital work. Equally important, however, is that we hear from those directly involved in the day-to-day business of feeding the world. From commodity growers to livestock producers—everyone represents a piece of the American agriculture picture. We are all in this together. We must remember that, for example, our commodity producers greatly benefit from a strong livestock sector as livestock consumes grain. The livestock industry benefits from the biofuels industry as the industry relies on them as an important feed source.
"A few weeks ago, Chairman Thompson and I hosted a Food and Agriculture Listening Session in a wheat field near Gypsum, Kansas. More than 150 farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers came together to talk about the next Farm Bill. There is a good chance that today’s witnesses will highlight many of the same priorities raised by livestock producers with Chairman Thompson and me in Kansas: Disaster programs and risk management tools; Research; Trade promotion; and Animal health research like what we will see at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility opening in Manhattan, Kansas this month.
"I am eager to continue learning about whether existing programs need to be tweaked or enhanced to ensure producer success. I am also interested in hearing more about what producers do not want in the next Farm Bill, as time has taught us, even if well intended, more legislation and regulation is often not the answer.
"Unfortunately, producers know well what can happen to the farm when the government gets in the way. I am especially concerned with the Biden Administration’s false narrative about the protein sector’s contribution to the skyrocketing cost of food in America; the Administration’s continued push for a set of controversial Packers and Stockyards rules; and most recently, the disappointing Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 12, which opens the door to unthinkable, unscientific regulatory overreach against all producers.
"I am looking forward to a productive conversation on these issues and a variety of others highlighted in your testimony, and I am excited to work together on solutions that benefit the whole of industry."