Tuberville and Pate Host Farm Bill Listening Sesssions – Alabama Peanut Producers Association

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville and Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate hosted a farm bill listening session at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center. Local farmers filled the room for a chance to have their voices heard on current agricultural issues. Tuberville and Pate discussed several topics with the group, such as fiber internet service for rural America, financial assistance for young and small farmers, and increasing reference prices for all crops.


Reliable internet has become increasingly necessary as more farm business models rely on staying connected. As we step into the future, successful farms have equipment that requires internet. “We passed an infrastructure bill, and a lot of money should be coming to the states to help with rural internet,” said Tuberville. He assured session attendees that he is working hard on the issue, and it will continue to be one of their main priorities. 


The younger generations find it especially difficult to get rooted in the farming industry unless they inherit land and equipment. ”Young men and women are saying I’m not doing it; I want to do something where I can make a living.” says Senator Tuberville. The upcoming farm bill will include an increase in FSA-guaranteed loan limits. The current caps for guaranteed loan limits are 1.75 million dollars, but the new farm bill hopes to increase that number to upwards of 3 million dollars through the Farm Service Agency. “If we can’t keep young people in this business, we’re going to lose,” stated Sen. Tuberville.


Tuberville and Pate also acknowledged the need for increased reference prices, stating that since the last presidential election, there has been a 28% increase in farm production costs, making it the largest increase in history for two years. “Within the peanut industry specifically, the cost of production has gone up over $100 per acre in the past two years. Y’all can’t compete and stay in business with that, so we’re working to increase reference prices and address the cost of production,” explained Emma Johnston, Legislative Assistant for the Senator.


Senator Tuberville added that he often brings packs of Alabama peanuts to Washington, D.C. He stated, “I’ve got them in the Senate and the House. Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas all have their own peanuts. Well, we always do these taste tests, and Alabama’s always wins.” 


There were brief discussions on other issues, including feral swine eradication, promoting locally grown products and small farms, land conservation, and animal husbandry. “I would say the number one thing we want to do is keep the government out of the way so that you can do the job that you want to do,” declared Johnston. Farmers and attendees were able to shake Senator Tuberville and Commissioner Pate’s hands following the session.