U.S. Representatives Martha Roby (R-Ala.) and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga.) have announced the re-formation of the Congressional Peanut Caucus for the 113th Congress.
The group of 17 lawmakers representing states with significant peanut farming and production will work together to ensure that peanut interests have a strong voice in Congress, and that peanut issues are taken into account in agricultural legislation.
Reps. Roby and Bishop will again co-chair the group. "We saw last Congress what a difference it makes when Members from peanut-producing states team up to ensure our interests are considered on equal footing in agriculture legislation," Rep. Roby said.
"As Congress considers the next farm bill, the Congressional Peanut Caucus will be back as strong as ever helping to facilitate communication and cooperation among Members from states with peanut interests. I look forward to working with my friend, Rep. Sanford Bishop and all our Caucus Members as we try to ensure a level playing field for our peanut producers."
"I have had the distinct honor of being known as the 'Peanut Congressman,' a title I wear with great pride and take very seriously," said Congressman Bishop.
"The 113th Congress will be presented with numerous new challenges for America's agriculture. As the peanut industry is crucial to the health and well-being of the rural South's economy, I and the rest of the Congressional Peanut Caucus are committed to ensuring its success for the future."
Members of the Congressional Peanut Caucus are:
• Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) co-chair
• Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga.) co-chair
• Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.)
• Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.)
• Rep. George K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)
• Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)
• Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas)
• Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.)
• Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.)
• Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)
• Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)
• Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.)
• Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.)
• Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.)
•Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)
• Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.)
• Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.)
Appreciation from industry
Peanut industry groups expressed appreciation for Members of Congress taking an active role in representing peanut interests.
Randy Griggs, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association said, "As the number of lawmakers who represent rural areas declines, it is more important than ever that those with like interest remain united. This and the budget challenges our country faces make the voice of the peanut caucus that much more important.
“Reps. Roby and Bishop are to be commended for organizing and promoting this group as a way to make sure that the voices of peanut producers are heard. It is an effective means of representing the nation's growers."
Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission said, "The Congressional Peanut Caucus provides a forum for the peanut industry to communicate directly with peanut state lawmakers about important consumer and industry issues. We are so grateful for Reps. Roby and Bishop taking the lead with re-establishing the Caucus.
“The Caucus plays an important role in educating members of Congress, who do not represent peanut states, about the economic and health impacts of peanuts. Peanut producers in the Southeast look forward to working with the Caucus in the 113th Congress."
The industry plays a vital role in the U.S. economy, as peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the U.S. with a farm value of more than $1 billion annually.
American peanut farmers produce around 1.9 million tons of peanuts annually on approximately 1.44 million acres. Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi grow the majority of all American peanuts, followed by Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Oklahoma.
Peanuts are an important nutritional resource with seven grams of protein per serving, more than any other nut.
Peanuts are continuing their legacy as an invaluable research commodity, most recently in the field of health and medicine. The application of peanut research to yield a better understanding of disease risk reduction, practical dietary interventions associated with Type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers could be the next big peanut breakthrough.
For more information from the Georgia Farm Bureau, see http://www.gfb.org/.