Members of the Gilmer County Farm Bureau, left to right, are Zach Jones; Wayne Holt, vice president; Roger Futch, R & A Orchards; Frank Wright, board member and owner of Mountain Valley Farms; U.S. Rep. Doug Collins; Darrell Jones, president; Lee Penland, board member, Penland’s Apple House; and Billy Stillwell, board member.

Collins talks ag policy with Farm Bureau members

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) met with the Gilmer County Farm Bureau last week to ask about their perspectives on local agriculture issues and update them on the policy landscape in Washington.

As the House Committee on Agriculture prepares the 2018 Farm Bill, Collins and Farm Bureau members agreed the meeting was a productive and encouraging opportunity for them to hear from one another.

“Farmers throughout Gilmer County and northeast Georgia bring a diversity of products to consumers, and I’m thankful that Farm Bureau members shared their afternoon and insight with me,” Collins said following the event.

“The experience that these local farmers bring to the agriculture industry can’t be overestimated, and hearing from them allows me to work effectively with my colleagues in Congress to shape federal policies to better reflect the priorities of Georgia’s farming community.”

The group discussed the issues inherent to family and smaller-scale operations, including a serious lack of available labor. In both Washington and Georgia’s Ninth District, Collins has emphasized the need for an effective guest-worker program to allow growers to produce and harvest the nation’s food supply.

The roundtable also discussed the potential need for more agriculture education in schools in order to prepare the next generation of American farmers.

After talking through a spectrum of challenges from country-of-origin labeling to poultry processing speeds, Collins encouraged the Gilmer Farm Bureau members, “Do not grow weary of doing good.”

Times Courier

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