Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) said Wednesday he fully supported a new Farm Bill benefiting Arkansas’ agricultural producers and deploying investments and jobs across the state, but he added several issues remain unresolved.
Crawford said after more than a three year, hands-on process including sharp, regional differences, he and other congressional members crafted a commodity title promoting regional fairness.
“This bill provides a strong safety-net that protects all producers from market risks, while expanding access to crop insurance so that it works in the Mid-South,” Crawford said. “In addition, we can finally provide relief to our cattlemen by permanently reauthorizing disaster assistance programs after years of hardship, resulting from drought and adverse weather.”
Crawford said rural development funding will bring critical investments to Arkansas’ rural communities, while conservation and forestry programs will preserve the state’s natural resources for years to come. In addition, the new Farm Bill, he said, modernizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture by repealing or consolidating dozens of programs and cutting billions of dollars from the federal budget.
And despite giving a full endorsement of the new Farm Bill, Crawford said it has several unresolved issues.
“I believe we could have gone farther,” he said, “I’m proud of the conservative reforms we made to the Food Stamp program by eliminating waste and loopholes, while setting the stage for work requirements. Still, I’m disappointed we didn’t reform harmful GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) regulations or fix Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for the meat industry. We also didn’t go far enough in relieving burdensome EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations on small farmers.”
Crawford said environmental activists in the Senate received too much input during the farm bill’s negotiating process.
“It is a shame that the House continues to make important EPA reforms in a bipartisan fashion, when our ideas are always rejected by the Senate at the hands of a vocal minority,” he said.
Still, Crawford credited the patience of Arkansas’ producers and rural communities throughout the lengthy Farm Bill process.
“We would not be here today if it weren’t for the extraordinary support and resilience of our producers.”