BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette is the first stop this week to discuss the farm bill and its impacts across the country and here in coastal Alabama.
“It’s so important to our country. That’s what people don’t really understand. If we can’t eat then we’re not going to survive, so we’ve got to save our family farms. Prices have gone skyrocket,” said U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville.
Tuesday, Tuberville and Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Rick Pate, are speaking to farmers and hearing their concerns during several stops across the state. Every five years the farm bill, which expires this September, is looked at and changes are made that affect farming livelihoods and also impact what foods are grown. It also covers crop insurance programs.
“Any 5-year period we’re going to have one or two bad years on any farm, so it just creates a little bit of a safety net that will let that farmer go on to another year,” explained Pate
Teresa Mathews operates Big Creek Nursery in Wilmer, a 21-acre farm where she grows roses and grasses.
“We’re raising the plants for all of your Home Depot, Walmart and Lowes, so it’s hard work and labor is our biggest issue,” said Mathews.
She wants to make sure the new bill doesn’t stop her from using foreign workers on her farm as part of the H-2A temporary agricultural program that provides relief whenever she can’t find help.
“It can change the program and how we pay different people,” she added.
The upcoming farm bill will also address rising costs such as feed, fuel, fertilizer and equipment.