Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, knows there’s a sense of urgency to pass a Farm Bill before the current legislation expires on October 1.
“Rural America needs it,” he explained on the most recent episode of Farm Policy Fact’s Groundwork podcast. “Our farmers, ranchers, and foresters, our processors – key stakeholders in rural America – demand it. And we need to do our job.”
Along with the other “Four Corners” of agriculture, Thompson is leading an effort to craft a bipartisan bill that provides much-needed certainty to rural America and helps propel the rest of our country forward. As Thompson explains, “not just the families of rural America, the families of urban America benefit when we have a robust rural economy.”
That’s because everyone relies on America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters, and the food, fiber, energy, and materials they produce.
“We’re not doing handouts, we’re doing investments. In what is probably — well, in my mind, undoubtably — is the most important industry in the country. Because [agriculture] is the industry that provides people everything that’s essential.”
When it comes to legislative priorities, Thompson is turning to America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters to learn more about the issues that matter most to them. Thompson recently hosted an unofficial bipartisan Farm Bill listening session in Pennsylvania. There, farmers and ranchers spoke to many of the same issues that Thompson has heard from audiences around the country: strengthening the farm safety net, protecting crop insurance, and working to ensure farm programs are working efficiently to meet agriculture’s needs.
Addressing climate change and implementing conservation solutions have also come up in Thompson’s discussions with farmers. It’s no wonder.
“The American farmer is the original steward,” Thompson said. “Whether it’s land, water, or air, they probably have a deeper appreciation for the soil and the streams flowing through their acreage than probably the average person.”
And farmers are always looking for ways to improve.
Thompson points out that on a net basis, farming and forestry capture more carbon emissions than they produce. “The American farmer… we do it better than anyone in the world.”
A Farm Bill that reflects the dynamic nature of American agriculture, provides a strong and responsive farm safety net, and ensures that farmers have the tools and the flexibility they need to implement the best climate-smart solutions for their farm will help farmers feed our growing planet, while creating a greener future for the next generation.