Standing up for Delaware’s hard-working farmers
Our nation has long been sustained by the hard work and spirit of its farmers. Delaware in particular has a long history as an agricultural state, and the quality of our produce, poultry, and grain products are well known both regionally and globally. In fact, agriculture contributes nearly $8 billion a year to Delaware's economy and accounts for 30,000 jobs in the state. From Sussex County’s vibrant poultry industry to fresh bananas shipped through the Port of Wilmington, Delaware plays a vital role in feeding America’s families. Senator Coons is standing up for Delaware’s farmers to ensure that our state’s agricultural sector thrives in the years to come.
Senator Coons’ Agriculture priorities include:
Supporting agricultural policy and programs. Senator Coons believes we need a comprehensive approach to agriculture policy. While reauthorizing the farm bill in 2014 was important, Senator Coons is committed to supporting legislation in between farm bills that promotes agricultural growth and economic prosperity for Delaware’s family farmers. Twice, he has supported the Senate version of the farm bill, which passed each time by a broad bipartisan majority. The recently passed farm bill supports Delaware’s farmers and poultry growers by strengthening crop insurance, investing in critical conservation and rural energy programs that help farmers produce sustainably, in addition to extending more opportunities for farmers to invest in renewable energy infrastructure. In 2015, Senator Coons also supported the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), which would eliminate unnecessary and costly Environmental Protection Agency regulations on pesticides that affect many of Delaware’s farmers. He more recently supported the elimination of $3 billion in cuts to crop insurance subsidies by voting to pass the FAST Act. Senator Coons is proud to support 4H and FFA and to celebrate Farm Credit’s 100th anniversary this year. As always, he is also looking forward to the next farm bill expected in 2018 or 2019.
Fighting for Delaware poultry. Senator Coons is working hard to support the poultry industry in Delaware, which supports 13,000 jobs in Delaware and contributes more than $3.2 billion to the state economy. As a result of Senator Coons’ hard work with his Republican colleague, Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia, for the first time in 15 years, Delaware poultry is again being imported into South Africa after longstanding barriers to U.S. poultry imports were eliminated. In the omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2016, Senator Coons fought for $55.34 million for avian health programs, which support partnerships with state departments of agriculture, universities, and the poultry industry to monitor poultry flocks and prevent and control the spread of diseases, including avian influenza (AI). Senator Coons, a co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus, is always looking for new ways to support Delaware’s poultry industry.
Expanding trade opportunities. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Coons is committed to expanding and opening new global export markets for Delaware’s agricultural products, including markets in Asia and Africa, two regions of growing importance. The Senator is actively working with U.S. trade officials to address market barriers, including antidumping duties, tariffs, and non-scientific-based health bans that affect Delaware’s agricultural producers and companies. Beyond the successes in the South African market, Senator Coons is also pushing to remove trade barriers for chicken, among other commodity exports, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. In addition to supporting exports, Senator Coons is supportive of streamlining inspections and deepening the Delaware River to encourage increased agricultural imports in the Port of Wilmington.
Developing next generation biofuels. Senator Coons knows that biofuels play an important role in meeting our economic, national security, and environmental goals. He is a leading advocate for advanced, next generation biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and drop-in fuels like bio-butanol, and is actively working to support the research, development, and deployment of these advanced biofuels in order to grow this industry.
Promoting conservation and farmland preservation. Senator Coons is a leading advocate for agricultural conservation and farmland preservation. He supports conservation programs authorized in the farm bill to help farmers and ranchers achieve their goals to be good stewards of that land. These programs support voluntary, cooperative efforts to protect water quality, conserve soil, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect farmland.