Senator Reverend Warnock visited Lee Nunn Farm Co. in Madison to hear from farmers and agricultural experts about their challenges, discuss his priorities to support Georgia’s producers as Congress works on 2023 Farm Bill
Earlier this year, Senator Reverend Warnock introduced legislation to help farmer’s technologies work seamlessly together, helping increase crop yield and use their resources effectively
Senators Reverend Warnock is the only Southern Democratic member of the United States Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Senator Reverend Warnock to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Farmers are in a tough business. Everything we can do to give farmers a boost, we ought to do that”
Top: Senator Warnock surveys the use of precision agriculture technologies at a Madison farm
Bottom: Senator Warnock speaks with 2020 Georgia farmer of the year, Lee Nunn
Madison, GA — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) visited Lee Nunn Farm Co. in Madison, Georgia to hear from farmers and agricultural experts directly about their work and challenges, and discuss his legislative priorities for Georgia farmers as Congress drafts the 2023 Farm Bill—legislation that is only authorized every five years and serves as the nation’s main legislative vehicle for agricultural and nutritional policy. During his visit, the Senatorshared his strong commitment to advocating for the state’s largest industry as Congress considers impactful legislation that will authorize key federal agriculture programs, including highlighting his bipartisan Promoting Precision Agriculture Act, which aims to establish interconnectivity standards to allow agriculture technology to better communicate and share data, helping farmers conserve resources and do their work more efficiently.
“It is the honor of my life to fight for Georgians in every corner of the state, and that is especially true for our farmers who not only continue to propel our state’s leading industry, but serve as an answered prayer, giving us our daily bread. That is why I am committed to continuing my work on the Senate Agriculture committee to ensure Georgia producers have the support and resources they need to not just survive, but thrive,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “And we can do that by investing in 21st century technologies that are integral to modern farming. Georgia producers use robotics, sensors, monitors, and even drones to increase crop yield and use their resources effectively. It only makes sense that these technologies should work seamlessly together. My bipartisan precision agriculture legislation is good for farmers and the families they serve.”
In March, Senator Warnock introduced the Promoting Precision Agriculture Act with Senator John Thune (R-SD). The bill would create a federal working group to establish interconnectivity standards to better communicate and share data. Precision agriculture includes the use of devices like robotics, sensors, monitors, drones, etc. to help growers increase efficiency, potentially increasing crop yields while reducing costs. Establishing interconnectivity standards will help promote the growth of the precision agriculture industry and make such tools easier for farmers to use and access. In April, Senator Warnock visited University of Georgia’s Iron Horse research farm in Watkinsville to see precision agriculture research first-hand and to discuss with local producers how modernizing precision agriculture technologies can help support Georgia’s farmers and economy.
See below for additional coverage of the Senator’s Madison farm tour:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Warnock seeks to expand high-tech agriculture through farm bill
October 11, 2023
- In Georgia, which boasts a $74 billion agriculture industry that is the economic backbone for many rural communities, the farm bill has wide-ranging implications for farmers and their businesses.
- In Madison, Warnock drove a tractor through the fields of Lee Nunn, a farmer who grows cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans on his 1,700-acre farm.
- Warnock and Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, have introduced bipartisan legislation that would improve access to “precision agriculture,” a suite of data-driven technologies that allow farmers to use resources, like water and fertilizer, as efficiently as possible.
- Over the years, Nunn has incorporated more precision agriculture tools on his farm, like high-tech soil monitors, irrigation equipment and sensors that record weather conditions. Nunn said the data has helped improve his bottom line. “When you add it all together on the farm, it makes a big difference,” he said.
- But there are currently no compatibility standards in the precision agriculture space, Warnock said, sometimes forcing farmers like Nunn to buy expensive adapters so equipment made by different manufacturers can work together.
- “The farmers are making great use of soil sensors, robotics, drones, a whole range of technologies,” Warnock said. “But the technology doesn’t always talk to one another.”
- Warnock and Thune’s bill would create a task force to establish a set of interconnectivity standards, which the senator said he hopes will allow more farms to operate efficiently.
October 11, 2023
- “Our cost to production is much higher than some of the other countries,” said Lee Nunn of Lee Nunn Farm and Fence Co. in Madison. “We want a level playing field. We hope the Farm Bill can have legislation or teeth in it that can keep the United States level with all the other countries out there.”
- “Efficiency is the name of the game when profit margins are as slim as they are in this business,” said Nunn. “We just want to have a level playing field where our products are sold and can be sold on the world market as efficiently as possible.”
- Nunn hosted Georgia U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock on Wednesday. For his part, Warnock hopes one of his bills that would give farmers more access to technology will make it into the final bill. “Farmers are making great use of soil sensors, robotics, drones, a whole range of technologies. But the technology doesn’t always talk to one another,” said Warnock. “There are basic interconnectivity standards that help the consumer. We don’t have that with this kind of (farm) equipment.”
- Warnock’s bill would allow more connectivity between farmers so they can share vital data with each other.
- The farm bill package also deals with other important aspects of farming, like setting the rates for crop insurance and emergency aid after natural disasters. However, 80% of the farm bill is dedicated to the nation’s government nutritional programs or SNAP benefits.
- “It is absolutely essential that we protect SNAP benefits and that we provide basic food security who are still reeling from the results of three years of a pandemic,” Warnock said. “Here’s the thing, I don’t think we have to choose between providing food security for those who are on the margins and supporting our farmers.”