Ag News

Sen. Warnock supports leaving disaster assistance in farm bill

Posted on Dec 14, 2023 at 18:47 PM

On Dec. 8, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture committee, traveled to Albany and met with local growers on a pecan farm damaged by severe storms to highlight his commitment to Georgia farmers. Warnock discussed his efforts to secure federal disaster assistance for farmers impacted by these storms and protect permanent disaster assistance to provide relief following future natural disasters and stronger storms. The Senator toured the farm with Justin Jones, owner of Jones Planting Company and Maryanne Brown, president of the National Pecan Federation.

“It’s these hard-working farmers, as well as the families they serve across our state, who I have in mind as I work on the farm bill as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee,”  Sen. Warnock said following his visit. “We must protect farmers in the face of severe weather and increasingly disastrous storms. I know communities in South Georgia know too well the damage that Hurricane Idalia caused, for instance. Our climate is changing. Our farmers have been trying to adapt. But they need Congress to adapt to our new reality, too.”

 Earlier this year Sen. Warnock introduced bipartisan legislation with Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina to protect America’s orchardists and growers by reforming the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – a critical farm safety net program.

The Protecting America’s Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers Act includes provisions that would lower the orchard mortality threshold to be in line with similar programs, expand eligibility to include biennial crops and damage caused by pests, and allow farmers more than 12 months to replant a crop. The bill would also allow farmers to replant with a more resilient variety as long as the cost is less than or equal to the original.

“My legislation would help more farmers replant alternative, more resilient trees and bushes after disasters by expanding eligibility for federal relief. This legislation is good for Georgia’s economy and will help make the agriculture sector more resilient to climate change. I’m going to push to make sure this critical legislation is included in the farm bill.”

After Hurricane Idalia, Sen. Warnock secured passage of an amendment securing billions for Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Small Business Administration to address storm damage. In October, Sens. Warnock and Jon Ossoff secured additional funding for USDA disaster recovery in any forthcoming supplemental appropriations request.

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