Improving the Quality of Life for North Carolina Families
Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry and a cornerstone of rural North Carolina, creating an economic impact of more than $96 billion each year and supporting 728,000 jobs across the state. Thom has been a leader in ensuring North Carolina agriculture’s continued success, working to create real, commonsense solutions for the challenges our farmers and rural communities face every day.
Providing Relief to Farmers
When farmers in North Carolina and across the country were reeling from market disruptions and the economic effects of COVID-19, Thom worked with his colleagues to pass bipartisan relief packages to help North Carolina Farmers weather the storm.
Supporting the Cultivation of Hemp
Thom co-sponsored legislation that was included in the Farm Bill that will allow for the continued growth of North Carolina’s hemp industry. North Carolina’s soil and climate make it perfect for the cultivation of hemp, allowing farmers to diversify operations and expand. Under language secured by Thom, the cultivation of hemp is now legal across the country.
Fighting for Greater Broadband Access
Rural prosperity and access to affordable high-speed internet are directly linked. Thom has continually urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use all available tools in their toolbox to help deliver high quality broadband to rural customers across North Carolina.
Thom successfully negotiated and drafted the bipartisan infrastructure bill which includes $100 million for broadband in the first year for North Carolina to provide broadband services to the 424,000 North Carolinians who currently do not have access to them, with the state eligible for additional funding in subsequent years.
Finding Solutions for Rural NC’s Labor Challenges
Labor shortages continue to handicap North Carolina farmers and seafood processors. Thom has worked on reforms to both the H-2A and H-2B temporary worker visa programs to allow farmers and small businesses access to a reliable source of temporary, legal workers.