The First State’s farmers are critical to the vitality of our communities and economy, and that’s why I’m dedicated to helping our farmers and their families succeed and prosper. I’m also dedicated to ensuring that our state’s future farmers have the resources they need to embark on the difficult, yet rewarding, experience of starting their own farm operation.
Delaware’s farmers also practice exceptional environmental stewardship. It’s a priority of mine to continue supporting land conservation policies that are balanced with the preservation and expansion of our farming industries and the agricultural way of life. As the Senate continues to debate issues that impact Delaware's farming communities, please know that I will make every effort to protect this important industry.
International Trade and ExportsDelaware’s thriving poultry industry creates more than $3.2 billion in economic activity each year and creates or supports more than 12,300 jobs. The United States is the largest poultry producer in the world and the second biggest poultry meat exporter, and poultry exports account for a growing portion of the poultry industry. One of my top priorities is to secure our farmer’s access to foreign markets and ensure they have a level-playing field to compete in the global marketplace.
Fortunately, supporting farmers in the poultry industry is a high priority for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. As a member of the Chicken Caucus, I’ve worked for years with my colleagues to break down unfair trade barriers that have kept Delmarva poultry out of foreign markets.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee I’ll continue to work with my colleagues and the Administration to protect our farmers from illegal trade practices in the global marketplace, and I’ll continue to advocate for fair trade policies to support Delaware’s agriculture industry.
Every few years, federal agriculture and food assistance programs are reauthorized through the Farm Bill, a comprehensive piece of legislation that designs the policies for agriculture, food and natural resources under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Farm Bill provides a critical support system for our nation’s farmers.
In 2018, Congress will likely have an opportunity to revisit the Farm Bill and the programs it authorizes. From crop insurance to conservation support to rural energy, I’ve seen firsthand how these programs continue to deliver for Delaware’s hardworking farmers. I voted in favor of the last Farm Bill because it gave long-term certainty to the 16 million Americans and nearly 30,000 Delawareans who work in the agricultural industry. It included federal support for programs that help farmers bring fresh fruits and vegetables to market, including watermelons, which we grow in abundance during the summers in Delaware. This program and programs like the Farm to School program, which helps bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our students, benefits both farmers and consumers. In 2018, I look forward to working to ensure that programs that are working for Delaware and our nation’s farmers are supported in the Farm Bill.