Senator Visits with Region 8 Farmers - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Blytheville, AR -- Marsha Mays Reporting

Senator Visits with Region 8 Farmers

BLYTHEVILLE, AR -- Arkansas farmers want to make sure Congress knows what they need as agricultural producers and Senator Blanche Lincoln was in town to do just that.

The U.S. Farm bill was written in 2002 and five years later, it's up for reauthorization.

Mike Sullivan farms about 10,000 acres in Mississippi County, a farm that he says Senator Blanche Lincoln can relate to.

"The folks in Washington that don't have a clue as to what farming is really like, but she's done it first hand and I'm just glad that she's on our team," says Mike Sullivan.

Senator Lincoln met with farmers, mostly to make sure their voice is heard during the farm bill reauthorization process that congress currently faces.

"Their input is critical. The problems they face, the challenges they face are part of the ammunition that I go back to washington with," says Senator Lincoln.  

After speaking on the current farm issues that she's dealing with in Washington, the senator took questions from area growers.

"We're bringing together a lot of pieces to this farm bill I think more so than we have in the past and of course on top of all that, we're looking at a new and improved energy title and looking at renewable fuels," says Senator Lincoln.

Input costs for the farmer, the oversight of the usda, and the issue of global trade are among the many issues she focused on, but putting a limitation on the size of a farm business is a hot topic as well.

"The size of farming farms has to get bigger. Economy is a scale and a farmer has to bigger and they're saying that we can't get but so big," says Sullivan.

Sullivan says that he forsees payment limitations and the size of farms being the biggest debate for congress when they begin to rewrite the farm bill.

"If they're able to accomplish that, it will be very detrimental to the economy in Northeast Arkansas," says Sullivan.

Both the farmers and the senator are now well aware of what they will face as they begin to rewrite the farm bill, knowledge that will be critical as they prepare for the debate.

"This will be a battle that I along with several others will be defending the diversity of this country in terms of agriculture production and making sure that southern growers are recognized," says Senator Lincoln.

 The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of this year.

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