Area legislators earn Friend of Farm Bureau designation

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All six members of Arkansas' congressional delegation have earned Friend of Farm Bureau distinction, and will be recognized with the honor over the next two weeks in ceremonies to be held across the state.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, plus House of Representatives members Rick Crawford, Steve Womack, French Hill, and Bruce Westerman each demonstrated support for agriculture and exceeded the required voting threshold on issues of importance, according to Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

The Friend of Farm Bureau award is given at the end of each Congress to those nominated by Arkansas Farm Bureau and approved by the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors. Voting records on key legislative issues important to agriculture are considered in the nomination. Among the issues considered were regulatory and tax reform, transportation and infrastructure legislation and international trade.

"We are fortunate in Arkansas that all six members of our congressional delegation understand the importance of agriculture to our state's economy," said Veach, a third-generation row-crop farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). "We work very closely with our congressional delegation, and their staffs, to make them aware of any impacts proposed legislation could have on the men and women of agriculture.

"This award is based upon several measurements: the member's voting records on AFBF's priority issues established by the Board of Directors, the number of bills a member has sponsored and co-sponsored, specific leadership role for Farm Bureau on priority issues, and how accessible and responsive that member has been to Farm Bureau members and leaders."

"The ability of our government to support a food-production system that meets the needs of the citizens of our country -- and many parts of the world -- is critical to our nation's stability and our ability to support allies around the globe," Veach said. "The production of food should be a priority for our nation and our federal support programs should result in a safe and affordable supply of food, fiber and shelter for our citizens.

"As the largest business sector in Arkansas -- larger than tourism, larger than health care, larger than retail -- agriculture is the backbone of our state's economy. Within the state, agriculture accounts for roughly 20 percent of all jobs. Domestically, agriculture is the only industry sector with a net-positive international trade surplus."

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

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