Sen. Brown Examines Health of Ohio's Rural and Farm Economy During Senate Agriculture Committee's First Hearing

Central Ohio Farm Leader Represents American Agriculture at Senate Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today attended the first Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hearing of the 112th Congress which examined ways to grow Ohio’s rural and agricultural economies.

“With more than one out of seven Ohioans in jobs related to agriculture and with half of Ohio’s counties being rural—the farm economy remains critical to Ohio’s economic recovery. Ohio farmers are providing food for a growing world and competing in an increasingly global economy, but they also play a key role in our nation’s future energy independence,” Brown said. “I will continue to seek ways to expand market opportunities for Ohio farmers while maintaining a strong and fiscally responsible safety-net. It is not just about putting food on the table; it is about strong rural communities, our shared natural resources, and the security of our nation’s economy.”

A central Ohio Farmer, Fred Yoder, and Former President of the National Corn Growers Association testified during the hearing. Yoder, a fourth generation corn, soybean, and wheat farmer from Plain City, was the only American farmer to attend the world climate discussions in Copenhagen, where he was a strong advocate for protecting the interests of US agriculture. Yoder continues to promote policies that support farmers while addressing our nation’s need for energy independence. During the authorization of the 2008 Farm Bill, Brown traveled around the state to listen to Ohio’s farmers and take their ideas to Washington. Yoder was one of the many Ohioans who worked closely with Brown.

Also testifying at today’s hearing were: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Director of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Keith Creagh; President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Thomas M. Hoenig; and an Economist at Texas A&M University, Joe Outlaw.

Brown is the first Ohioan in more than 40 years to serve on the U.S. Senate Agriculture

Below is the full text of Sen. Brown’s statement as prepared for delivery.

Since being elected to the Senate in 2006, I’ve convened more than 160 community roundtables across Ohio’s 88 counties with community and business leaders, farmers and workers, educators and students to discuss ways to create jobs and rebuild our economy.  

With half of Ohio’s counties being rural, many of those discussions centered on the role agriculture and clean energy will play in strengthening our economy – and strengthening our nation’s small towns and rural communities. Growing up and working on my family’s farm near Mansfield, and representing a state whose number one industry is agriculture, I recognize – as most Ohioans do – that the future of agriculture in our state will in many ways shape the future of Ohio itself.

With more than one out of seven Ohioans in jobs related to agriculture and with half of Ohio’s counties being rural—the farm economy remains critical to Ohio’s economic recovery.  Simply put, our state’s prosperity – and economic and energy security – depends on the strength of Ohio’s agriculture sector.  

My objective on the Agriculture Committee is to produce results for Ohio famers – to expand market opportunities and maintain a strong and fiscally responsible agricultural safety-net. Agriculture in Ohio and throughout the country is not just about putting food on the table; it is about strong rural communities, it’s about preserving precious farm land, it’s about energy innovation, and it’s about helping to sustain and strengthen the US economy. It’s an honor to represent Ohio farmers as the first Senator from our state to serve on the Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years.  I look forward to working with the agriculture community in Ohio and with my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee as we seek to bolster this pivotal sector of our nation’s economy.

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