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Sen. Roberts Comments on Green New Deal
USAgNet - 03/27/2019

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today said the supporters of the Green New Deal are misinformed about American farmers, ranchers and growers who already try to produce more using fewer natural resources to fulfill our nation's moral obligation to feed a troubled and hungry world.

Senator Roberts made the remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate in advance of a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 8, "The Green New Deal."

The following are Senator Roberts' remarks are as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President. I want to thank the sponsors of the Green New Deal for enabling all Senators the opportunity to discuss the practical challenges the resolution presents.

For me, as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it allows me to discuss the real stewards of the land, our farmers and ranchers and how this resolution would affect their ability to not only feed this nation, but a troubled and hungry world as well.

Those of us who represent farm country are grateful for the opportunity to underscore something that too many take for granted: farmers and ranchers in the United States grow the safest, most affordable and abundant food in the world. And as I just said, we know that it is a troubled and hungry world that needs farmers, ranchers, growers and their production to help feed and clothe the world's increasing population.

As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am proud of our bipartisan record on behalf of American Agriculture and, in turn, our record of respecting our nation's natural resources.

These things go hand in hand. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on the Agriculture Committees, and those privileged to work in agriculture, have always sought to grow and raise more using as few resources as possible.

The men and women who make their living off the land have an imperative and keen interest in responsible use and management of our natural resources. Show me a farmer who does not practice conservation or does not have access to the very latest technology and I will show you a farmer in trouble.

In short, within agriculture, there is nothing "New" with the "Green New Deal." It calls for 'working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible,' by 'supporting family farming,' 'investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health,' and 'building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.'

Mr. President, check, check and check. We have been doing this already. And we continue to look ahead to create thoughtful, well considered policies. Now, I do not question the intent of the authors of the Green New Deal, but they don't know what they don't know. They need to catch up with the Agriculture committee and with farm country.

In fact, we on the Ag Committee are so forward looking that we embraced innovative methods of investing in agriculture research with the creation of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).

The Foundation leverages public and private dollars to bring together experts to identify and investigate the researchable questions whose answers have the potential to enhance the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply.

I encourage the senator from Massachusetts and other cosponsors to simply ask for a briefing from the folks at FFAR. I would say the same to vocal colleagues on the House side who helped to author -- pardon the acronym -- the GND. But, given their unfortunate focus on our livestock industry, I simply do not have time to fully discuss the emissions emitted from all livestock or the Congress for that matter - perhaps later after riding point on the herd and getting the cows milked.

What is worth our time is a defense of American Agriculture, the best in the world, from attack by those who are either uninformed or misinformed regarding organic, processed and precision agriculture - all modern miracles.

American farmers, ranchers, and others in rural America are constantly working to produce their crops and to raise their livestock in order to feed a growing world, and do so with constant challenges presented to them from Mother Nature.

Farmers are natural stewards of the land. And, they must be good at problem solving--they identify the issue or the trend, find ways to adjust their business and respond to that issue, and improve their way of operating.

If they don't adjust to address those challenges and simply do the right thing, their farm or ranch-and their livelihood-will not be sustainable.

It's pretty simple: every living, breathing person on this earth needs food in order to survive.

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