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Johnson: Protecting Our Farms Is Vital to America

August 10, 2012
By JOSELYN KING - Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BARNESVILLE - U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson said it is very important for leaders to protect the farms that produce the food we eat.

Johnson, R-Ohio, on Thursday visited the Dickinson Cattle Co. in Barnesville.

"This is critically important," he said. "We began as a nation of farmers. Our forefathers tilled their fields when they weren't in session. Protecting our farms is so vitally important. We have to be able to eat. ...

Article Photos

Photo by Joselyn King
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, left, is greeted by Darol Dickinson, general manager of the Dickinson Cattle Co., during a stop at the cattle farm in Barnesville Thursday.

"We have already outsourced our manufacturing and energy needs," he continued. "If we get to the point where we're outsourcing our food sources, we will be in major trouble."

Johnson grew up on a farm in Roseboro, N.C., before going on to a career in the U.S. Air Force and settling down in Ohio. He said he has been speaking with farmers throughout the Buckeye State, who have told him they have concerns about the "death tax" - a tax assessed on to a person's property at the time of their death. The tax on a large farm affects the passing of their farm on to their children, Johnson noted.

He added the U.S. House needs to pass a Farm Bill establishing policy as it pertains to the nation's agriculture. The legislation is up for authorization this year and expires Sept. 30. It contains measures that could assist farmers seeking to deal with the effects of this year's drought and excessively high temperatures.

"This weather affects livestock very seriously," Johnson said. "Sheep can die, chickens can die ... it's a very big issue."

The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill on June 21 by a vote of 64-35. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., voted in favor, as did Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, voted against the bill.

The legislation is not moving in the House.

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