MOULTRIE -- City officials who met with representatives in Washington D.C. earlier this week said they are pleased with the outcome and hope their efforts to forge relationships with them will pay off in the future.

City Manager Tony Rojas and city council members -- excluding Mayor Bill McIntosh and Councilmembers Betty Haggins and George Walker Jr. -- flew to the nation's capital early Wednesday morning and returned late Thursday night.

"It was a whirlwind tour," said Councilman Lewis Herndon. "But it went real well ... We expressed our concern about Farmland National Beef and how the farm bill might affect them among other issues."

A provision in the proposed farm bill would ban meatpackers from owning their own beef or pork, something that could devastate the Moultrie branch of Farmland.

"It was nice to get to meet Max Cleland," Herndon said. "He was very instrumental in getting the money used for the Swift Building removal. It was also good to meet with Jack Kingston -- we had never met him before."

Councilmember Sherrod McCall said Sen. Zell Miller was very receptive to their concerns with the farm bill.

"He seemed to think that maybe the situation was taken care of," he said. "There's really some hot negotiations in the farm bill. He said they might go all weekend working on it."

But overall, McCall said, the trip was to leave a lasting impression with the representatives more than anything.

"It's good to know that they'll be able to put a face with us if we ever have to call on them," he said.



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