⋅ BY MICHAEL KLEIN ⋅
Arkansas Senator John Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, spent the morning here yesterday with rice farmers from around the country who were in town for the USA Rice Farmer Fly-in.
Boozman talked about the many listening sessions and Congressional hearings he has already participated in, telling those assembled that while the crops may be different, the concerns and challenges are very similar.
He took questions from the audience about Congressional Budget Office scoring of the Farm Bill that he said missed the mark, the importance of the Price Loss Coverage program, his goal of keeping conservation programs focused on working lands, and career and technical training that is vital to rural communities.
He thanked the farmers in attendance for taking time away from their farms to come to Washington to advocate on their own behalf and said he looked forward to working with the industry on another Farm Bill.
Later in the morning, Rod Snyder, senior agriculture advisor to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, addressed the group.
He explained that Regan has a farm background and is appreciative of agriculture. Snyder pointed to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC) on which rice farmer Jennifer James serves as an example of the collaborative spirit Regan is committed to.
He spoke about pesticide registrations and the Endangered Species Act, the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation and lawsuit and a trip he took to a Mississippi rice farm last year during harvest that he said was a career highlight for him. He fielded questions from the audience on these topics and thanked the group for hosting him again.
“We really appreciate Senator Boozman and Rod spending time with us today, ” said Curtis Berry, a Mississippi rice farmer and USA Rice Farmers chair. “These are busy individuals with really important jobs, and we appreciate them meeting us in person while we’re here in Washington advocating for issues that have a huge impact on our industry.”