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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 7:00am

Caucus Speaks For Peanuts

As Congress looks at key agriculture legislation, peanut interests are getting the backing of 17 representatives as part of the re-formed “peanut caucus” – and a Georgia congressman is co-chair.

First on the to-do list is the nation’s farm bill, which has been reintroduced after failing to come to a vote in the House before the new Congress convened.

Last year, peanut yields and quality were uncommonly high. And farmers had planted more acres because of high prices the year before. The result was a bumper crop and low prices for farmers.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop said the record-breaking harvest is a good example of why peanut farmers need continued federal support.

“We want to make sure that in those lean years that there is adequate protection for our farmers so that they will be able to be around to produce our agricultural products for the next cycle,” he said.

Bishop said having a group of lawmakers with shared interests means they’ll be able to more effectively protect federal programs like crop insurance and funding for agricultural research.

“Being able to educate our colleagues goes a long way toward getting their support on issues where we need the support and to defeat policies that may be adverse to the interests of our farmers,” Bishop said.

The peanut caucus also includes Georgia Reps. John Barrow, Jack Kingston and Austin Scott along with members from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

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