Congressmen Austin Scott spoke with the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow at their speaker event before midterm elections about different topics in agriculture. Scott represents Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. His family has lived in the district for generations, and he is proud to represent the area.
At the event, Scott said, “I don’t have to tell anybody in this room how important agriculture is to our economy.” As Scott introduced himself, he recalled his memory of the debate in Atlanta over the name change of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to Abraham Baldwin College. He remembers it as one of the greatest fights in Atlanta he has ever seen.
After easing into his speech with historical context from ABAC, Scott discussed the challenges agriculture has experienced the past few weeks.
Hurricane Michael impacted farmers all over his district, and the storm affected the income farmers were expecting to make this year. He specifically talked about cotton farmers and the loss of revenue the cotton industry is facing.
Scott pointed out that seeing destroyed crops does more than just affect a farmer’s income. The sight of overturned trees or plants leaves a toll on the farmers and their families. After months and years of hard work, it’s devastating for everyone involved when situations like Hurricane Michael arise.
One of the challenges that Scott discussed with the ACT club was how to help farmers after the hurricane fairly. Some farmers experienced a 10 percent revenue loss while other farmers experienced close to 90 percent loss of revenue. He didn’t specify how to ensure fairness when relieving farmers.
Throughout the speech, Scott made it clear that he felt bipartisanship was happening more than what the media portrayed.
He said he has worked side by side with Democratic politicians when it came to helping Americans. Scott feels like the media paints a picture of two polarized parties, and he firmly believes the divide is not as severe.
Scott reassured the audience of students that Georgians have good people at both the state and federal level that are looking out for our best interests. He also believes the people at United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are just as good as the ones representing our state in politics.
A keynote that Scott brought up was college students graduating and returning to their rural communities. Usually, when students graduate, moving back to their hometown seems undesirable, but the fact is, if students brought back skills and knowledge to rural communities that they learned in college, it could give these rural communities the boost they need.
Scott discussed with students opportunities in working with agriculture policy, and other places students could find work in the agriculture industry. Agriculture has been a part of Scott’s life since childhood, and he was eager to speak with students interested in agriculture.
The final thought Scott left the ACT club with was a piece of advice, “Go to a country that is truly poor.” Scott said, “You’re going to have so much more respect for the gifts and opportunities you have in the country.” Scott has gone on trips all over the world with fellow politicians, and some—if not most—of the countries he has traveled face extreme poverty.