Commissioner Tyler Harper hopes next farm bill includes better safety nets for crops

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 3:22 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Plenty of Georgians have a stake in the next set of agriculture rules Congress puts in place.

The federal Farm Bill sets the table for how farmers can survive and compete for the next five years.

Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner says plenty in the state’s agribusiness economy rides on what’s in or not in the next federal Farm Bill.

Commissioner Tyler Harper spent part of last week in Washington DC talking to lawmakers about the next Farm Bill and its importance.

“It’s about making sure that the playing field for our American producers is level, and they have the ability to compete with other nations around the world,” Tyler Harper said.

He says Georgia farmers and others around the nation often face an uphill battle with those in other countries in labor and other costs.

“What we pay for an hour of labor, they pay in a day in some cases.”

He met with Democrats and Republicans because he says the Farm Bill often centers more on Geography than political party. He’s encouraged that we could see provisions for the first time to better protect crops like blueberries and onions.

He hopes the next bill gives better safety nets for row crops like cotton, peanuts and more to help protect growers’ investments and the people who rely on their success.

“At the end of the day, agriculture is national security. We’ve got to protect our food supply and give our farmers, suppliers, and ranchers the tools and resources they need to be successful.”

The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September and he hopes Congress can have a new one ready by then.

And we’ll keep you updated on the bill.