ALABAMA POULTRY PRODUCER TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE
Blount County poultry producer Dennis Maze testified in Washington, D.C. Wednesday before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research.
The hearing was the second held by the committee with USDA, Department of Energy and commodity groups to study outlooks on energy supply and demand.
Subcommittee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) noted the major concern that energy supply and demand has on agricultural and rural communities. Since agricultural producers have a low return on investment and equity when compared to many sectors of the American economy, volatile swings in energy and other input costs can drastically alter their net revenues.
Maze, a third-generation poultry farmer, told committee members that agricultural producers continue to suffer from energy costs that are far higher than usual or that could be reasonably anticipated by farmers.
"Substantial increases in gasoline, propane, natural gas, heating oil and electricity have put farmers in a tight squeeze economically that has left them with little or no recourse," Maze said during his testimony. "Without some financial assistance, even producers that are profitable will soon use any equity they have remaining and only exacerbate the current financial crisis."
Maze encouraged the committee to continue to examine ways to increase the supply of energy, including the use of renewable fuels. He said efforts should be made to increase production and research of renewable fuels, adding that assessed tax rates that promote market acceptance of renewable fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel should be considered.