Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on Agriculture

Agriculture is the leading industry in Georgia’s vibrant economy. From peaches to poultry and from cotton to timber, Georgia is home to a larger variety of agricultural industries than almost any other state. I’m proud to represent such hardworking Americans, and I am committed to making decisions that strengthen our agricultural economy while also protecting its legacy.

2018 Farm Bill
Our nation’s farmers face near-constant uncertainty in their day-to-day operations as they work to feed the world. As the senior senator from the state of Georgia where agriculture is our leading industry, I was proud to work on a number of provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill, which anticipates future challenges and helps ensure that federal policies reflect the needs of our nation’s farmers.

The bipartisan Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, H.R.2, known as the Farm Bill, was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2018. The legislation codifies agriculture policy for the next five years to strengthen our agricultural economy in Georgia and the United States. A five-year reauthorization provides certainty and predictability to farmers and ranchers by improving crop insurance coverage and reauthorizing farm and conservation programs. It also provides assistance to rural communities through expansion of broadband, opioid addiction treatment programs, and support for agriculture programs for veterans.

Significant to Georgia farmers, the legislation maintains funding levels for the main crop insurance program used in Georgia, Price Loss Coverage, at current levels.

Georgia is the second largest cotton-growing state in the United States, and cotton, which is the largest crop by acreage in Georgia, contributes an estimated economic value of more than $1.6 billion to Georgia’s economy.

In 2018, cotton was made eligible for Title I commodity programs. I worked to maintain this eligibility in the 2018 Farm Bill, and I’m pleased that the final bill will allow increased coverage if five-year crop price averages escalate significantly.

Also included was an amendment I sponsored to extend funding for an important program that helps modernize and protect U.S. textile factories while promoting the use of domestic-produced cotton. That program is now fully funded. 

The bill also helps ensure safety for farm animals and the food supply through funding of the National Animal Disease Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Program and establishes the new National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank.

Additional information about the 2018 Farm Bill can be found here.

Poultry
Georgia has a large poultry industry and is a major exporter of poultry. I am proud to serve as co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus, as the poultry industry annually contributes more than $25.5 billion and 104,000 jobs to the Georgia economy. I have worked hard to ensure that poultry farmers in Georgia and across the United States are treated fairly in trade agreements with other countries. We have made great strides recently to help ensure fair trading practices with South Africa, and as a member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, I have been working to open up India and China to U.S. poultry. I am also proud to support the Georgia-based Southeast Poultry Research Lab, which leads the world in poultry health research.

Global Food Security Act
As a Senate sponsor of the Global Food Security Act of 2016, and of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018, working to pass this legislation was a priority for me. I am pleased this life-saving legislation has proven itself a smart investment in our national security. This legislation is about helping developing countries achieve self-reliance through research, the use of new technologies and agriculture development. Food insecurity leads to instability and violence, so helping our neighbors abroad bolsters our security by strengthening U.S. influence and fostering stability. This program is designed to ensure a maximum return on our foreign assistance and also allows our farmers and researchers in Georgia to share their knowledge and benefit from these investments. The bipartisan bill coordinates U.S. foreign assistance programs, including the Feed the Future Initiative, so that there is a comprehensive strategy for development programs that use American agricultural expertise to more aggressively tackle chronic hunger abroad.

 

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