By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery announced that peanut-state lawmakers have teamed up to support peanut interests in agriculture legislation. U.S. Representatives Roby and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D) from Georgia announced the re-formation of the Congressional Peanut Caucus for the 113th Congress.
Rep. Roby said, “We saw last Congress what a difference it makes when Members from peanut-producing states team up to ensure our peanut interests are considered on equal footing in agriculture legislation,” Rep. Roby said. “As Congress considers the next Farm Bill, the Congressional Peanut Caucus will be back as strong as ever helping to facilitate communication and cooperation among Members from states with peanut interests. I look forward to working with my friend, Rep. Sanford Bishop and all our Caucus Members as we try to ensure a level playing field for our peanut producers.”
Rep. Bishop said, “I have had the distinct honor of being known as the ‘Peanut Congressman,’ a title I wear with great pride and take very seriously. The 113th Congress will be presented with numerous new challenges for America’s agriculture. As the peanut industry is crucial to the health and well-being of the rural South’s economy, I and the rest of the Congressional Peanut Caucus are committed to ensuring its success for the future.”
Roby and Bishop will be the Co-Chairmen of the Peanut caucus which has 17 lawmakers representing states with significant peanut farming production. Their purpose is to ensure that peanut interests have a strong voice in Congress, and that peanut issues are taken into account in agriculture legislation, especially the 2013 Farm Bill.
The members of the Congressional Peanut Caucus include: Rep. Martha Roby (R) – co-chair, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D) – co-chair, Rep. John Barrow (D) from Georgia, Rep. Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile, Rep. George K. Butterfield (D) from North Carolina, Rep. James Clyburn (D) from South Carolina, Rep. Michael Conaway (R) from Texas, Rep. Rick Crawford (R) from Arkansas, Rep. Randy Forbes (R) from Virginia, Rep. Walter Jones (R) from North Carolina, Rep. Jack Kingston (R) from Georgia, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) from North Carolina, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) from Mississippi, Rep. Austin Scott (R) from Georgia, Rep. Terri Sewell (D) from Selma, Rep. Steve Southerland (R) from Florida, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D) from Mississippi.
The Executive Director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association Randy Griggs said, “As the number of lawmakers who represent rural areas declines, it is more important than ever that those with like interest remain united. This and the budget challenges our Country faces make the voice of the peanut caucus that much more important. Reps. Roby and Bishop are to be commended for organizing and promoting this group as a way to make sure that the voices of peanut producers are heard. It is an effective means of representing the nation’s growers.”
The Executive Director of the Georgia Peanut Commission Don Koehler said, “The Congressional Peanut Caucus provides a forum for the peanut industry to communicate directly with peanut state lawmakers about important consumer and industry issues. We are so grateful for Reps. Roby and Bishop taking the lead with re-establishing the Caucus. The Caucus plays an important role in educating members of Congress, who do not represent peanut states, about the economic and health impacts of peanuts. Peanut producers in the Southeast look forward to working with the Caucus in the 113th Congress.”
American farms grow 1.9 million tons of peanuts a year on 1.44 million acres worth over $1 billion.