By Mary Kendall Dixon
U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop hosted U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock for a tour of several South Georgia farms on Wednesday, March 31. The congressman coordinated with the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, GFVGA, to connect the senator with several Georgia fruit and vegetable farmers, tour their operations and learn about the issues they face as an industry.
The tour began at Minor Produce in Sumter County. Farm co-owner Dick Minor provided an overview of the farm operation and industry issues.
Several fruit and vegetable growers participated in the round-table discussion with Senator Warnock and Congressman Bishop on trade, labor and agricultural research needs. The growers focused on the impact seasonal dumping of produce in domestic markets from Mexico has had on American growers, issues with current farm worker legislation and the importance of continued funding for whitefly research at the University of Georgia’s College Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Fort Valley State University.
“We appreciate the congressman and senator coming and meeting with us,” said Minor, chairman of the Georgia Commodity Commission for Vegetables. “We also appreciate their work to help the Georgia fruit and vegetable industry.”
Congressman Bishop serves as the chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee and he serves on the House Agriculture Committee. Senator Warnock joined the U.S. Senate Ag Committee and is chairman of the Senate Ag subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade.
Senator Warnock and Congressman Bishop ended the day with a visit to Dollison Farm in Poulan, Ga. They toured this farm-to-table operation that specializes in swine, vegetables and peanuts and discussed the value-added products Dollison markets. The visit also included a discussion on USDA programming for minority growers and the need for further promotion and communication of new program availability.
“As a new member of the Senate Ag Committee it is important that Senator Warnock is aware of the issues that deeply affect our Georgia farmers,” said Charles Hall, GFVGA Executive Director. “We appreciate their support of the Georgia specialty crop industry and look forward to working with them.”