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Butts Farm Bureau president visits Washington, D.C.

Photo by Rebecca Long

Photo by Rebecca Long

Special to the Progress-Argus

Butts County Farm Bureau President David Ridgeway recently traveled to Washington, D.C., with other Georgia Farm Bureau members, to meet with Georgia's congressional delegation to discuss agriculture issues.

When meeting with Georgia's representatives, the Farm Bureau members discussed numerous issues affecting Georgia agriculture, including the Clean Water Restoration Act, immigration reform, estate tax reform, climate change and farm animal cruelty legislation.

While in Washington, Ridgeway joined a group of Georgia Farm Bureau members in visiting the congressional office of U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.). During the meeting, Marshall warned that the next farm bill won't be the same as the last farm bill because, "We've been out of money for a long time and it's becoming more and more apparent." He added that he doesn't anticipate any changes being made to the current farm bill before it expires saying, "There are just too many of us who would block that."

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson addressed the Georgia Farm Bureau members during a breakfast hosted by the bureau.

While speaking to Farm Bureau members, Chambliss, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, voiced his opposition to the Clean Water Restoration Act.

"I don't think the federal government has any right to come on your farm and check a mud puddle that your irrigation system created," Chambliss said. "Sure, they need to ensure that chemicals don't reach your waterways but this proposed legislation would stretch the original intent of the Clean Water Act to extremes and use it to regulate things the Clean Water Act was never intended to do. We're working with American Farm Bureau and doing everything we can to fight it."

Isakson told Georgia Farm Bureau leaders that his main priorities are working to get the national economy back on track and working to curb national spending. He said he was hopeful that Congress would reach an agreement on the estate tax issue before estate tax laws revert back to a $1 million exemption at a 55 percent rate next year.