Dr. Boozman's Check-up

New data released by the U.S.-Cuba Trade Economic Council shows that Arkansas’s agricultural producers continue to lose out under Washington’s current restrictive trade policy with the island-nation.

The top two commodities Cuba purchased from American producers in 2017 are among the top commodities produced in Arkansas—chicken leg quarters and soybeans.

A deeper dive into the data shows that chicken and soybean products make up over 80 percent of the total food product/agricultural product exports from the U.S. to Cuba last year.

According to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Natural State has about 2,500 farms that produce chicken. Arkansas is the tenth largest soybean producing state and exports almost half of the state’s crop.

In theory, the Cuban market is ripe for Arkansas’s poultry and soybean producers. Add rice to that list, which is a staple of the Cuban diet, and you have the potential for a significant economic boost for our state.

In reality, however, this is not the case.

U.S. producers are still unable to fully tap into the market because federal law does not allow private financing for agricultural trade with Cuba. This misguided policy creates a major roadblock to trade with the cash-strapped island nation.

There is bipartisan solution to this problem. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and I introduced the Agriculture Export Expansion Act to lift the ban on private banks and companies offering credit for agricultural exports to Cuba. This would help level the playing field for exporters across the country and support American jobs.

This commonsense solution does not put the American people on the hook for business deals with Cuba. It simply removes the regulatory barrier banks and companies run into when trying to offer private financing to Cubans for the sale of U.S. agricultural commodities.

It’s a small step would help level the playing field for Arkansas’s farmers and exporters while simultaneously exposing Cubans to American ideals, values and products. A true win-win for American farmers and the Cuban people.

Despite the cold weather in Buffalo, New York, there was a warm welcome for the USS Little Rock, its crew and Arkansans who traveled to celebrate the commissioning of the Freedom-class littoral combat ship on Saturday. It’s been more than four decades since the Navy had a ship named after the City of Little Rock, and it is an honor to have one its more versatile warships named after our state’s capital city. Watch the historic commissioning.

I was honored to recognize the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans at a medal presentation in Fort Smith.  

Harold Laird of Pea Ridge served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1973 and was deployed to Vietnam. He received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, Purple Heart Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Service Stars. 

Robert Layes of Van Buren served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1953 and was deployed to Korea. He received the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Good Conduct Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars. 

Minuen May, Jr. of Nashville served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1970, including a deployment to Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars.

KNWA was there for the presentation and featured Mr. Laird in this story.

Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises and we must replace it with a system that ensures access to affordable, quality care for every American. The working draft being considered by the Senate is one attempt to fix this broken system. As the process moves forward, I will continue to review updates made to the initial draft, study the CBO report, consult with Governor Hutchinson and get important feedback from Arkansans about how this proposal affects families in our state. In addition, I am working with my colleagues on possible amendments that will improve the existing framework as we continue to work towards improving healthcare for all Americans.

Protecting Wildlife

Jun 13 2017

We want to continue to ensure Arkansas is rightly called the Natural State so our children and grandchildren can enjoy all we have been blessed with. 

In Arkansas, there are 32 threatened and endangered species. According to the Union for Conservation of Nature, there are more than 16,000 endangered species threatened with extinction on Earth. It is imperative that we protect these species, stop illegal poaching and trafficking and promote the conservation and responsible management of all of God’s creatures.  

That is why I am proud to announce that the Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act recently passed the Senate. The WILD Act, which I am proud to cosponsor, will enable us to promote wildlife conservation, assist in the management of invasive species and help protect endangered species. 

Specifically, this bill will reauthorize and fund the Department of the Interior’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program until fiscal year 2022. Federal agencies must also implement strategic programs to control invasive species and reauthorize programs to protect endangered species. Most importantly, the WILD Act will establish competitions for the private sector to encourage the development of innovative technology and create solutions for wildlife management and prevention of poaching and trafficking.  

The WILD Act is supported by both the World Wildlife Fund and the Family Farm Alliance. Partnerships like these are more effective at protecting species and wildlife rather than the costly and job killing regulations that stem from the top-down. I firmly believe that the bipartisan WILD Act will enable us to better protect and conserve our wildlife around the world. It is for these reasons that I am cosponsoring the WILD Act and encourage the House of Representatives to follow our lead and pass the bill so we can make it law.


ICYMI: Tele-town Hall

May 09 2017

I regularly host telephone town halls. These events allow me to reach thousands of Arkansans in a live, interactive town hall meeting conducted over the telephone at the touch of a button and encourage productive conversations with Arkansans across the state about issues important to families, businesses and the future of our country.

If you missed the event I hosted Monday, May 8 you can listen to the conversation here.

Find out how you can participate in future calls.

Arkansans from across the Natural State shared their concerns about issues important to them with me during a telephone town hall this week.

A wide variety of issues including health care, immigration and regulatory reform were discussed. If you missed the conversation you can listen to it here (Note: There is approximately 45 seconds of silence in the recording before the event begins).

I will continue to host telephone town halls as these live, interactive meetings are an excellent way for Arkansans to share their concerns and questions with me. Find out how to participate in the next one here.