By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt and his Democratic counterpart on Agriculture Appropriations Congressman Sanford Bishop from Georgia are teaming up to convince their colleagues to authorize more funding to help farmers recover from recent natural disasters.
Aderholt chairs the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee and Bishop is the ranking member. Both have been working on legislation that will bring aid to farmers who have lost a lot during this year’s hurricanes and wildfires out west.
In a letter to their colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee, Aderholt and Bishop write that Hurricane Michael dealt more than $4 billion in agricultural losses across the Southeast, while Florence led to $22 billion in damage in North and South Carolina.
They did not ask for a specific exact dollar amount for the spending package because the damage is still being assessed in some areas.
Aderholt also made sure to mention in his letter that while facing the aftermath of Hurricanes is always a stressful time, it is especially hard for American farmers right now because of “depressed commodity prices and markets closed due to retaliatory trade measures.”
For Alabama’s agricultural concerns, Aderholt made sure to highlight the damage done to the cotton, pecans, peanuts, and timber crops, as well as the loss of livestock. The loss of timber in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida has been called a “generational” damage to tens of thousands of acres of timberland, he said.
Vice President Mike Pence, as well as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue have also called on Congress to approve additional resources to help farmers and ranchers recover.
“It is our responsibility, and the responsibility of the other Members of Congress, to find solutions and provide relief to those in need. We look forward to working with you, and the full House Appropriations committee, as well as the entire Congress on a supplemental appropriations package and to reexamine federal policies where necessary,” the letter said.
While working in a bi-partisan way to help farmers recover, Aderholt has also been busy on the campaign trail stumping for GOP hopefuls. He was recently in Minnesota campaigning for Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer, who are running for Congress.
Having the chairman of the committee that funds Agriculture come support you is a big deal for candidates in farm country. Aderholt even took his turn at the wheel of a harvester bringing in the grain crop while Emmert drove the grain cart beside him.