Pictured left to right: Bob Redding, Georgia Peanut Commission Washington representative, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Ronnie Lee, Reece Langley, vice president of Washington Operations for the National Cotton Council, and Robbie Minnich, senior government relations representative for the National Cotton Council.
(WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 24, 2015) The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF) praised USDA for their implementation of the farm bill in a timely manner during the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Hearing, Feb. 24, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Ronnie Lee, farmer from Bronwood, Georgia, provided testimony on behalf of the SPFF and the National Cotton Council.
The SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.
“The importance of having a Georgia senator on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee was evident today. Georgia peanut grower, Ronnie Lee, was able to provide testimony about issues important to Georgia’s peanut producers before the Committee,” says Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “We appreciate Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s efforts to be a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and look forward to working with him for Georgia’s peanut producers.”
“Our industries believe that sound farm policy is essential to the economic viability of the cotton and peanut industries,” Lee says. “It is critical that U.S. farm policy is designed and implemented to provide a sound foundation for agriculture production.”
During the hearing, Lee provided testimony on the importance of sound farm policy, peanut policies, crop insurance enhancements, conservation programs, export promotion programs and more. One additional part of the testimony focused on the decline of federal government purchases of peanut butter even though peanut butter remains one of the cheapest proteins, helps deter obesity and addresses malnourishment.
Lee stated, “Federal peanut butter purchases reached a peak of approximately 80 million pounds in the mid-1990s, but the amount of purchases have continued to decline with less than 30 million pounds purchased in the 2012-13 time period and even fewer purchases in 2013-14. We understand there are additional variables with regard to these purchases, such as state and local product requests. We would like for USDA to determine what has caused the decline and how, working with USDA, we can turn this situation around.”
Peanut industry leaders worked closely with Agriculture Committee leaders in the United States Senate to create a farm bill that works for all regions of American agriculture. The farm bill was the subject of a long and intense debate, beginning with hearings in 2010 and becoming law on Feb. 7, 2014.
To view Lee’s complete testimony, click here.