Incoming House Ag Committee Chairman highlights priorities
Incoming House Ag Committee Chairman David Scott is ready to take action on five major issues facing the industry.
The Georgia Democrat says the committee will be arranging a series of hearings in the new year starting with climate change.
“Climate change will impact our food supply if we don’t get a handle on what is going on,” he says. “And so, it is essential that the agriculture committee be at the point of the spear in leading the way to deal with climate change because no industry depends upon our climate and weather as much as agriculture.”
He tells Brownfield addressing discrimination that has hurt Black farmers will also be a priority.
“We want to bring in the USDA to make sure that we eliminate any and all discrimination there,” he says. “We need to uncover it and get it out of the way and the way to do that is for the very first time in our nation’s history, I want to bring these Black farmers in who have been impacted. We owe that to them and certainly I owe it to them because I come from a Black family farm.”
Scott says the pandemic has exacerbated disparities like access to broadband.
“The fault lines of our rural and urban communities is getting wider and deeper all the time and we’ve got to close that gap and pay very close attention to our rural areas,” he says. “Getting our rural areas connected is an emergency.”
He says another priority is…“getting legislation passed that would set aside disaster aid funds that don’t have to go through the regular appropriations process. It takes too long, and farmers suffer when they can’t get aid when they need it. My grandad always taught me to prepare for the storm before the hurricane is raging.”
Hunger and food insecurity must also be addressed, he says.
“We’re going to have to bring in and have hearings on hunger in this country—it is growing—and the threats to our food supply chain along the way,” he says. “Food security and hunger is a growing issue.”
Scott says the hearings will set a tone that the House Ag Committee will be able to play an integral role in addressing these threats to the US food supply.
Audio: David Scott