On Thursday, March 14, our country celebrated National Agriculture Day. Members of Congress from all corners of the nation took this opportunity to thank the farmers and producers in their respective states and districts, and President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation acknowledging the immeasurable value farmers, ranchers, growers, producers, and foresters contribute to our country and the world.
Agriculture has a significant impact on our economy. Our agriculture exports are valued at more than $141 billion and are critical to our country’s job market. It’s estimated that every $1 billion in agriculture exports supports roughly 8,400 American jobs. So, you see, agriculture and related industries are absolutely vital to this country’s economic success.
Here in Alabama, agriculture continues to be our largest revenue-producing industry, contributing more than $70 billion in economic impact annually. With over 9 million acres of farmland and more than 48,500 farms, our state is a national leader in food production and a global competitor in many industries, including poultry, catfish, timber, cotton, peanuts, and livestock. In the Second District alone, agriculture is our largest employer, responsible for more than 93,000 jobs and $11 billion in economic impact.
At the end of last year, Congress passed and the President signed into law the new farm bill to provide certainty to the American families who work tirelessly to provide the food and fiber we all depend on. In Congress, my goal with agriculture policy is always to create a responsible framework of laws and programs that promote a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry in Alabama while enabling our farmers to do their important work. I was proud to vote in favor of this bill to accomplish just that.
During this time of celebrating our country’s agriculture industry, I feel it is also important to acknowledge the communities in the Wiregrass that are still trying to recover after Hurricane Michael devastated lands and crops during harvest last October. Earlier this month, our neighbors in Lee County experienced severe devastation when tornadoes ripped through the southern part of the county, taking innocent lives and destroying homes and property.
In the wake of this tragic devastation, I firmly believe Congress should make agriculture disaster recovery funds available for these people who were hit the hardest. I remain hopeful that we will get this done soon, and in the meantime, I encourage those who need assistance to contact my offices.
At the end of the day, life as we know it wouldn’t exist without the hard work of farmers and producers across this country. Our agriculture community provides the sustenance that feeds America and the world, and we owe it to these men and women to recognize the critical role they play in our daily lives.
So, to all the outstanding individuals in Alabama and across the country who work in agriculture, thank you. You feed us, clothe us, fuel our economy, and set a strong example of hard work and perseverance. I will always be a vocal advocate for you in Congress.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.