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Congress coming to Troy Saturday

Federal Lawmakers will be on hand at the Pike County Cattlemen’s Park Saturday, to attend a congressional hearing to review proposed U.S. agriculture policies for 2012.

“I am very pleased that the Second District will serve as host for one of only eight hearings on the Farm Bill,” said Congressman Bobby Bright D-Montgomery.

“The Farm Bill sets agriculture policy in the U.S. for a five year period, so it’s important for farmers in the Second District to have the opportunity to express their opinions to members of the committee.”

The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday and be open to the public. It will be the sixth forum in the series and one of only two of its kind in the entire southeast.

Bright’s press secretary Lewis Lowe said the hearing will be an excellent opportunity for local farmers to have an effect on future plans for agriculture.

“We expect to have several members of Congress in for the hearing,” Lowe said. “And there will be witnesses from the Alabama farming community testifying before the committee about their experiences with the current Farm Bill.”

Roy Kendrick, president of the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts, said the bill affects all aspects of farming, but row crop farmers most of all.

“There have been things in the bill in the past dealing with acreage allotments, price supports, crop insurance and deficiency payments,” Kendrick said.

The hearing won’t allow for farmers to come in and speak, and the House Agriculture Committee has yet to announce specifically which witnesses will be present to represent Alabama farmers, but Kendrick encouraged all residents with a vested interest to attend.

“How many Congressional hearings have been held in Alabama, let alone Troy, Alabama?” he asked.

The committee will however, allow public comments on the Farm Bill to be submitted through its Website: http://agriculture.house.gov, which can also be used to get live video coverage of the hearing for those who cannot attend.

All comments received online by June 14, will be included in the Committee’s Farm Bill field hearing record.

“I look forward to my colleagues visiting Troy and participating in what should be an informative and helpful field hearing.”