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March 05, 2013   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
March 05, 2013

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell, right, and his wife Robin, center, visit with U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala, during the 2012 Washington Legislative Conference.

Alabama farmers will urge congressional leaders to pass a farm bill and control regulatory overreach when they travel to Washington, D.C., March 12-15. Nearly 130 Alabama Farmers Federation members will attend the annual Washington Legislative Conference, which includes meetings with Alabama’s congressional delegation.

“The decisions made on Capitol Hill affect our farmers and their daily lives,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “This conference is a valuable opportunity for farmers to speak directly with their representatives and senators about national farm legislation.”

Wednesday’s breakfast features an update from U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Later that day, attendees will receive information on the federal budget, federal farm policy for livestock and poultry, immigration reform and the 2013 farm bill.

“Last year, Congress did not pass a new farm bill, and, instead, granted a one-year extension of most of the programs contained in the 2008 farm bill,” said Federation Director of National Legislation Mitt Walker. “That means farmers across the country continue to operate with uncertainty about the future of farm programs. It’s imperative for Congress to pass a farm bill this year so our farmers can better plan for their livelihoods.”

Alabama’s seven U.S. representatives will share breakfast Thursday with farmers. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., will speak to farmers at lunch, which includes a presentation on farm policy trends.

While in Washington, Federation members will attend 18 specialty meetings focused on particular issues and commodities.

“There is strength in numbers,” Parnell said. “However, smaller meetings allow farmers to share their stories with congressional leaders in a way that’s not possible in large groups.”

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