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May 04, 2012   Email to Friend 

Miranda Mattheis
(334) 612-5493
May 04, 2012

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville (second from right), visited several areas in Madison and Limestone counties Monday as part of an agricultural tour, including a stop at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center at Belle Mina. Standing from left are, Buddy Adamson, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation cotton, soybeans and wheat & feed grains divisions; Chet Norris, superintendent of the research center at Belle Mina; Brooks and Mitt Walker, National Legislative Programs director with the Alabama Farmers Federation.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, made a trip home Monday for an agricultural tour in Madison and Limestone counties.

The congressman’s tour included stops at Jeff Gin Co. in Huntsville; Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala.; Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center at Belle Mina, Ala.; and Usery Farms in Athens, Ala. His visits allowed him to spend one-on-one time with farmers and learn about the issues that are more important to the agriculture industry in Alabama.

“Most importantly is the farm bill and its status in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate,” Brooks said. “To be able to see the actual farms, the irrigation system that is in Bragg Farms and to see it at work, that’s important. The cotton gin, the poultry industry, the research and development over at Belle Mina — all those things give me a little bit better perspective of agriculture, what it means to the state of Alabama and what we need to do to make sure that it’s successful.”

Brooks said he has a better understanding of farmers’ needs after meeting with each of them about the work they do.

“It helps me better understand the values that are related to agriculture which, in turn, translates into [hopefully] better votes on legislation that impacts agriculture,” he said.

Chet Norris, superintendent of the research center at Belle Mina, said he appreciated the opportunity to talk with Brooks about funding for agriculture research and Extension programs.

“We feel since that’s what we do every day, it’s a very important component of making producers productive and efficient,” Norris said. “It’s very important, and we need to continue to be able to acquire funding to do adequate research so we can help the area growers.”

Norris was also able to discuss specific ways in which research can help farmers.

“Every year, there are new and improved crop varieties and new and improved plant protection materials that are coming, and we evaluate those beforehand so the growers don’t have to do it,” Norris said. “We recommend through the Extension system what varieties or what products would be beneficial to them to make them productive each year.”

Mitt Walker, National Legislative Programs director for the Alabama Farmers Federation, said he appreciated Brooks taking time to learn more about production agriculture in his district.

“So many decisions made in Washington have either a direct or maybe even an indirect impact on farmers, and it is vitally important for all of our members of Congress to maintain a direct link to agriculture,” Walker said.

Brooks’ tour served as a reminder of the important role agriculture plays in the economy.

“Agriculture is a main part of the Alabama economy, not just for the 5th District of the state of Alabama, but across the whole state,” Brooks said. “Every part of the economy is necessary for jobs – for us to have the economic prosperity we want and to have food on the table.”

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