Congressman Bill Owens announced today his appointment to two House Agriculture subcommittees. While serving with his colleagues on the federal panel influential in decisions critical to the farming community, Owens will sit on the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research as well as the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture.
"Serving on these two subcommittees is a big reason why being named to the Agriculture panel was such a top priority for me," Owens said. "Our farmers are a tremendous part of our local and national economies, and this helps place Upstate New York in a great position to meet the unique needs our agriculture communities have."
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research oversees all agriculture matters relating to agriculture credit, soil, water, and resource conservation, the small watershed program, energy and bio-based energy production, rural electrification, and agricultural research. This panel is critical to the needs of Upstate New York farmers as they currently face a credit crunch. Congressman Owens is currently working with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's office to address the financial challenges that many farms face as a result of the recession by ensuring access to credit through the USDA Farm Service Agency's loan guarantees and direct loans. In April, Owens met with North Country Agriculture lenders in Lowville to discuss the coordination of these lending efforts.
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture oversees all matters relating to plant pesticides, fruits and vegetables, honey and bees, marketing and promotion orders, quarantine, adulteration of seeds, and organic agriculture.
In his first few months in office, Owens has fought tirelessly for local agriculture interests. In January, he pressed U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to protect Upstate dairy from the negative effects a U.S.-New Zealand trade agreement would have on the industry. Owens also fought to keep the Market Access Program (MAP) funded at its highest level to help local dairy farmers and wine producers continue to play a large role in local economic development.
In addition to the House Committee on Agriculture, Congressman Owens also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security.