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July 28, 2010   Email to Friend 

CATFISH FARMERS URGE IMPLEMENTATION OF 2008 FARM BILL
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
July 28, 2010

Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Mitt Walker, left, visits with U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., at a recent catfish fry on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Walker joined other catfish industry leaders on the trip who urged implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill that places catfish inspection under USDA. Lincoln is chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Catfish Farmers of America organized a legislative trip to Washington, D.C., July 21-22 to focus attention on USDA's failure to implement a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that changes inspection of farm-raised catfish. The change has been stalled in the Office of Management and Budget.

Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Mitt Walker was among those attending the meeting. He said catfish inspection historically was handled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Commerce, but the 2008 Farm Bill designated that responsibility to USDA.

"Beef and chicken, because they are a farm-raised products, already are inspected by USDA," Walker said. "Catfish farmers believe they should be treated the same way."

Catfish farmers and industry supporters made several visits to Capitol Hill during their recent trip, which was highlighted by a catfish fry luncheon.

Meetings were held with staff from the offices of U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The honorary speaker for the catfish fry was U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. A number of other senators and congressmen from the Southeast co-hosted the event, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala. More than 200 staffers and others attended the catfish fry.




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