Congressman David Scott (GA-13) delivered the following statement at the first public meeting of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee:
Click here to watch video of Congressman Scott’s opening remarks.
“Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. We’re here at a very historic time. As we grapple with our Farm Bill, we are also faced with devastating trade situations and our farmers are experiencing a high suicide rate.
“It’s very important that we understand what has happened over the past week for our nation. With the passing our great friend Senator John McCain, we all saw and heard the great cry in this nation for bipartisanship.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, contained in this bill is a glorious example of bipartisanship of Democrats and Republicans working together.
“Ms. Stabenow, thank you for mentioning the needs of our beginning farmers as well as the need to understand that we must respond to this national crisis with the average age of our farmers now being 60 years of age. They’re faced with many obstacles, and we’ve got to do more to bring the newer generation into farming, agriculture, and food production.
“With the help of many of my friends on both sides of the aisle, we have included in this Farm Bill a pioneering historic effort to bring $95 million dollars to the Land Grant 1890 African American Colleges and Universities.
“I want to thank my colleagues for stepping up to the plate. Thank you so much Kevin Cramer from North Dakota for your work as my lead Republican cosponsor. I also want to thank Senator David Perdue, my Senate Republican cosponsor. Both have joined with myself and Representatives Fudge, Adams, Cleaver and so many of us to make sure we get this measure passed.
“I appreciate now that the language is included in the Farm Bill and says this: that for each of the five years, these nineteen 1890 African American Land Grant Colleges and Universities will each receive $1 million dollars per year. That means $5 million times nineteen colleges, which is $95 million dollars in total. I just know that the American people will say that this could not happen without Democrats and Republicans working together.
“I now want to thank Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Peterson and the leadership of the House and Senate. Let’s make sure that nothing happens during this discussion, during these Farm Bill negotiations, that in any way would jeopardize the $95 million dollars. We’re almost to the finish line.
“And may I say Mr. Chairman, for those who may not know, while these are traditional African American colleges and universities, everybody, White, Black, Hispanic, the whole nation, regardless of race, creed, or color, will be going to these schools.
“This is the way we help farmers, to give them this powerful shot in the arm. To let them know we are preparing the next generation. And I think we all can say that that the spirit of John McCain is resting with this wonderful collaboration.”