What Congress needs to do for Ag right now

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Zippy Duvall, President
American Farm Bureau Federation
Exceprts,

First up, Congress must pass a disaster relief bill. Devastating storms, wildfires, volcanoes and floods have beaten a path of destruction across our country over the last year. Yet many farm families have been waiting months for assistance, with no help in sight. It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and bring relief to those who desperately need it.

It’s also time for lawmakers to stop blocking tough issues like immigration reform. Every time we’ve gotten close to a solution to our ag labor crisis, politics brought any progress to a grinding halt. In the meantime, demand for farm workers increases every season, taking our workforce shortage from bad to worse to critical. Congress must come together to fix our guest-worker visa program so that farmers and ranchers from all regions and commodities can have access to a legal, stable workforce.

Just this week, we passed an advocacy mile-marker that proves what we can accomplish when we tackle the tough issues together. We are one step closer to a new Clean Water Rule, and I want to extend a big thank you to every one of you who submitted comments! We’ve come a long way in our fight for clear rules, and it’s been a breath of fresh air to work with EPA and Corps officials who share that goal and want to hear from us.

We face some real challenges in our communities and across the country, but none of these hardships are impossible when we take them on together. Congress may be facing some tough political soil, but it’s time for them to dig in and follow the example of the hardworking folks they represent. When farmers run into a challenge, we don’t give up: we find a way forward. We are counting on our elected leaders to do the same.