Martha Roby: A season of new beginnings

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Martha Roby pauses to talk with the media while campaigning at a fish fry in Andalusia, Ala. [Photo Credit: Mickey Welsh /The Montgomery Advertiser via AP]

This time of year represents a season of new beginnings for many of us. Students across the country have gone back to school and are preparing to tackle another year of learning and growing. Teachers in every community throughout the nation are welcoming new faces to guide and mentor this school year.

It’s also an important season for the agriculture community as these hardworking men and women are in the midst of a critical time for crops before harvest. If you are able, now is a great time to buy local and support our state’s farmers by purchasing Alabama-grown products. Fortunately, shoppers will soon have a new, easier way to identify Alabama products thanks to the newly-formed “Sweet Grown Alabama” non-profit foundation overseen by a group of leaders in the agriculture industry.

Sweet Grown Alabama’s mission is to enhance marketing opportunities for our state’s farmers by connecting retailers and consumers to Alabama-grown foods and other agriculture products. Farmers will have the opportunity to join this program and brand their products with a special logo, so consumers have the option to buy local and support our state’s agriculture community. This is an exciting opportunity for both farmers and consumers throughout our state. You can learn more about the program here.

Here in Alabama’s Second District, our agriculture community is facing an especially challenging time since Hurricane Michael made landfall during harvest last October. Now, more than ever, our district’s farmers need our support, and I have continued my efforts to help on the federal level.

Earlier this month, I led my Alabama colleagues in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging swift approval of the Alabama Agriculture Recovery Relief Program. This program will allow the State of Alabama to administer disaster aid to producers who were impacted by last year’s devastating hurricane.

The program makes available disaster aid block grants, which are separate from the individual payments to farmers, and will help our agriculture industry get back on its feet after the severe setbacks. I am hopeful that this program finally helps farmers get the assistance they need to continue to feed Alabama and our entire country.

During this time of year, as many people are going through different seasons of new beginnings, I offer my best wishes and strongest support. I will be praying for a productive and successful school year for our district’s students and educators, and I will always serve as a strong advocate for Alabama’s farmers and producers, especially as they work towards a new harvest season.

It is an honor to serve Alabama’s Second District in Congress. Do not hesitate to reach out to my offices if I can ever be of assistance to you.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.