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August 04, 2006   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 04, 2006

Cramer speaks during the opening banquet of the 34th annual Commodity Producers Conference in Huntsville.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama Congressman Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, called on farmers at the Alabama Farmers Federation's 34th annual Commodity Producers Conference Aug. 3 to offer input from the "front lines" as Congress considers disaster relief this fall and reauthorization of the farm bill next year.

"Your issues are our bread-and-butter issues -- literally," Cramer told the crowd of 650 farmers gathered in Huntsville for the three-day conference. "My strength is my relationship with you. We want to make sure your voice is not lost."

Cramer was the keynote speaker for the opening banquet of the conference, which includes farm tours, a hay and livestock expo and seminars on topics ranging from estate planning and irrigation to international trade and the environment.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby, a Limestone County farmer, praised Cramer for his support of farmers not only in north Alabama but throughout the state.

"Congressman Cramer believes in the same things we do: God, country and family," Newby said. "He works hard for our district and state everyday, and I've found that his door is always open; he's always willing to listen; and he's interested in finding anything he can do to help farmers."

Cramer, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, spoke about the importance of providing continued funding for farm programs, agricultural research and rural development projects. One of those efforts is precision agriculture research at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina, which is advancing global positioning system technology and other high-tech tools to aid farmers in making better management decisions.

"Precision agriculture is a very important opportunity for us to modernize and make more technical our support for agriculture," Cramer said.

Of particular interest to the farmers attending the conference was the new farm bill, which will be written next year. Cramer, who holds periodic meetings with farmers in his district, said those farmers have told him the 2002 farm bill has been good for agriculture. He said continued input from the agriculture community is vital as lawmakers prepare to draft the next farm bill.

"In that farm bill (2002), we were able to accomplish some things for rural America that we weren't able to do before," Cramer said. "I know we want to make sure opportunities like those are continued when we go back in 2007 to reauthorize the farm bill."

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