For the first time in nearly 170 years, the chairperson of the House Agriculture Committee in Congress is from Pennsylvania.
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson says he’s already hearing plenty from farmers in his district as the committee prepares to rewrite a new national farm bill.
Thompson smiled a bit when asked about the theatrics that marked the beginning of the current House session, and the battle over selecting the Speaker of the House.
“There’s always a lot of drama in Congress. There always has been. There is a reason you couldn’t bring your cane to the House a hundred and some years ago because they would get into battles with it. But people need to understand the process is there and it does work.”
Thompson, the new head of the House Agriculture Committee, says there is wide range of issues on their agenda.
“Rural healthcare, rural education, rural utilities, broadband and crypto currencies. Because when those tokens are traded, they become a commodity.”
But the top priority is a new farm bill.
Congress rewrites one every five years, and the current one expires at the end of this upcoming September.
Thompson terms it “crunch time” for the massive legislation, setting the nation’s Ag-related priorities.
In Pennsylvania, one out of every seven in the workforce have a job tied to agriculture.
Increased prices and supply chain issues are just some of the factors impacting farmers and our food availability.
“A lot of commodity prices are high, but the problem is farming is a business, and in a business, it’s not what you bring in, it’s the margin at the end of the day. And they’re also talking about other issues, such as crop insurance.”
Thompson also notes that one of the nation’s top national security issues is food security.