Tuberville Speaks on Importance of Alabama’s Farmers and Foresters in First Senate Ag Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today attended his first hearing as a Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and highlighted the importance of Alabama’s agriculture and forestry industry to the state. He opened his line of questioning with the following statement:

“I’m excited about being here. Alabama’s farmers and rural communities sent me here to be their voice and I plan to fight hard on their behalf. Rural Alabama and rural communities all across our nation must not be forgotten, and I will use my position on this committee to express the views and opinions of Alabama farmers so that they can continue to do what they do best – farm their land with no undue burdens on them. With farming and forestry combining to make agriculture the largest industry in Alabama, I look forward to serving on the Ag committee to ensure they continue to thrive.”

Senator Tuberville also questioned the witnesses on the feasibility of America’s farmers and producers to be profitable if the Biden Administration was to enact its “30-30” initiative and on the importance of properly managing existing forests.

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s line of questioning can be found below and the full video can be found here.

On farmers maintaining their productive lands:

TUBERVILLE: “In order for the agriculture economy to continue to thrive, farmers must have productive land to produce a crop year in and year out. Farmland acreage across this country, including in Alabama, is not expanding – it is shrinking. The trend continues on; our farmers are having to produce more with less to feed our country and the world.”

“If the Department of Agriculture is going to play a direct, or indirect, part in carbon banking or greenhouse gas reduction practices, highly fertile and productive lands cannot be moved into retirement in attempts to achieve this. Additionally, any programs like this, either through the government or the private sector, must be voluntary, market-driven, and incentive-based. The Biden Administration’s Executive Order on climate change, they outlined a ‘30-30’ initiative of conserving at least 30% of our lands and water by 2030. Mr. Isbell, as a farmer, if you lost 30% of your farmland, would you still be profitable? Or would [this] level of reduction to your productive lands have a largely negative effect on your operation?”

On properly managing our existing forests: 

TUBERVILLE: “Today’s hearing is ‘Farmers and Foresters: Opportunities to Lead in Tackling Climate Change.’ I’m all for that. Alabama has 23.1 million acres of forests – 94% of those forests are owned by more than 250,000 private forest owners. Forests need to be protected but we protect them by managing them – and in keeping a managed forest it remains healthy and productive. In the South, particularly in Alabama, healthy forests are driven by healthy markets for the products growing in these forests. As I read, you have some timber in your operation. Mrs. Wittman, do you think there’s an opportunity to do more with existing forests, especially private and family-owned forests, many of which are also part of a farm to address climate change?”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.