Bill will provide assistance to ag producers

Published 4:50 pm Monday, April 10, 2006

By Staff
Last week Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and I, along with 24 of our House colleagues, introduced legislation designed to provide almost $4 billion worth of economic assistance to agricultural producers for losses from hurricane and other weather related causes in 2005.
The &#8220Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006,” H.R. 5099, is the related House legislation to S. 2438, the bipartisan agriculture disaster assistance legislation, which was included with some modifications by the Senate in its most recent supplemental appropriations bill.
Over the last year, agricultural producers have experienced widespread devastation.
Last year's hurricanes were especially difficult for our producers along the Gulf Coast. In Alabama alone, there was $25 million of nursery losses as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Assistance will be provided to producers of cotton, specialty crops, and nursery crops as well as sugarcane and dairy producers in hurricane affected counties.
Tree producers who suffered losses will also receive assistance under the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
Currently, TAP provides emergency assistance to the agriculture industry; however, nurseries are not included.
Under this legislation, TAP will include Christmas, ornamental, nursery and potted trees as well as bushes, shrubs and vines.
The nursery producers in Mobile and Baldwin counties have total sales of $120 million annually.
The green industry, which is comprised of nursery, greenhouse, and sod producers, has a $174 million economic annual impact on the state of Alabama and is responsible for 3,000 jobs in Mobile and Baldwin counties alone.
America's agriculture producers are proud, patriotic Americans.
They love this country and do not complain when Mother Nature deals them a bad hand; they just keep working hard to try to make the best of a bad situation.
As grateful as I am to the American people for their assistance to the disaster victims of the worst hurricane season in U.S. history.
I am also reminded that our agriculture community continues to be the one group of Americans left behind from all the assistance already appropriated.
The price tag is steep, but we cannot forget the hardworking, God-fearing taxpayers who love this country and work hard to keep us fed and clothed.
I am hopeful that this important assistance will be included when the House and Senate conference the most recent supplemental.
Art Competition Winners Announced
I am pleased to announce the winners of this year's First Congressional District High School Art Completion: An Artistic Discovery.
Angelo Mosely of John L. LeFlore High School, a student of art instructor Kelly Lowe, was awarded first-place honors for his entry, &#8220What it is.”
In addition to this award, he is also eligible for a scholarship from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
His artwork along with the other winning entries will be displayed for one year in the United States Capitol building.
Created in 1982, this nationwide art competition has showcased the artistic and creative talents of thousands of young people for over two decades.
Other winners from this year's show are:
Second Place: Candace Wilson, St. Paul's Episcopal School, &#8220Wallflowers”
Third Place: Stephen Heubach, Alma Bryant High School, &#8220Untitled”
Honorable Mention:

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