WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined with leading agriculture associations in Arkansas to applaud Senate passage of the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorizes nearly every program housed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including commodity programs; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); rural development loans and grants, including rural broadband; forestry; trade promotion; international food aid; research; livestock; and horticulture, among others.
Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state’s economy every year and accounting for approximately one in every six jobs. Rice, soybeans, cotton, poultry and beef cattle are particular staples of Arkansas’s agriculture economy.
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a farm bill conferee:
“Considering how vital agriculture is to Arkansas’s economy, ensuring that we pass a final reauthorization of the farm bill before adjournment has been a top priority of mine. Our farmers and ranchers have been dealing with low commodity prices, high input costs, volatile weather events and an uncertain trade environment. The last thing they need is continued uncertainty that would only intensify if we failed to see this through the finish line. That is why we worked hard, in a bipartisan manner, to reach consensus on a final version that will deliver for Arkansans and all those who earn their livelihood in the agricultural economy, protect key risk management tools and maintain strong farm policy for producers of all stripes.”
Andrew Grobmyer, Executive Vice President of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas:
“We thank Senator Boozman and Congressmen Rick Crawford and Bruce Westerman for their efforts as farm bill conferees, and we are very pleased to see this measure nearing completion. We cannot stress enough the importance of the farm bill and the need for it among Arkansas farmers. Right now, there is nothing in place as the previous law has expired, and the agriculture economy, especially the row crop segment, is struggling mightily.
A farm bill with meaningful support is critical in preventing significant harm to Arkansas farms. In addition to the farms, there are many other Arkansas businesses with direct and indirect connections to agriculture that are suffering in this rough ag economy. Simply put, the downturn in prices we've seen in recent years and recent months with trade dispute impacts has cut deeply into the cash flow of many farms and businesses in Arkansas.”
Randy Veach, President of the Arkansas Farm Bureau:
“We are pleased that Congress has recognized how important a new Farm Bill is to the hard-working farmers and ranchers of this country and we are grateful they have come together to pass this critical legislation before the new year. While this bill may not have everything we were hoping for, it will provide much-needed financial protections and allow access to funds for livestock producers. It also has a solid conservation program and will allow us to continue to promote our agricultural products to other countries.”
Jeff Rutledge, Rice Farmer, Newport Arkansas, Chairman, Arkansas Rice Federation:
“We are extremely pleased to see progress in the final stages of a farm bill that provides some certainty in such a variable agricultural climate. Senator Boozman’s advocacy on behalf of Arkansas producers cannot be overstated and our family farms will continue to benefit from his leadership for years to come.”
Joe Mencer, Rice Farmer, Lake Village Arkansas, Chairman, USA Rice Farmers:
“We greatly appreciate Senator Boozman going to bat for rice farmers and the entire agriculture industry. Revisions to the definition of actively engaged to help preserve family farms as well as timing of the sequester deduction are certainly beneficial and largely due to his leadership.”
Cody Burkham, Executive Vice President of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association:
“The Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association is thrilled at the recent progression of the 2018 Farm Bill. We are particularly pleased to see authorization for a new Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine (FMD) bank included in the conference report. This FMD bank will provide a critical safety net for cattle producers and rural economies in Arkansas and across the nation should an outbreak occur. We are grateful for Senator Boozman’s leadership on the Senate Agriculture Committee and his support for Arkansas cattle producers.”