Nov 29, 2022 - Business

Arkansas lawmakers look to next farm bill

Illustration of a pitchfork with money on the end.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford — both Republicans — are already looking at possible changes to the next farm bill, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Why it matters: The bill allocates funding for federal nutrition, farming and conservation programs as well as agriculture research and rural development.

  • Zoom in: The agriculture industry adds about $16 billion to Arkansas' economy each year with nearly 50,000 farms in the state.
  • The largest poultry and rice producers in the U.S. are based here too.

Context: Boozman is the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Crawford is part of the House Agriculture Committee.

What they're saying: "Agriculture policy may be complex, and debates about food policy may get less attention than other hot button issues, but these decisions matter to all of us," Boozman wrote in a column Monday.

  • "Recent events have reminded us we cannot find ourselves in a position where we are dependent on other nations for our food supply," he wrote, apparently referring to the war in Ukraine, which has pinched the global food supply.

Yes, and: Crawford told the Democrat-Gazette that lawmakers should consider raising reference prices, referring to a program that reimburses farmers for losses on commodities under a set price, noting the last change was in 2013.

Flashback: Former President Trump signed the last farm bill into law in December 2018.

What's next: The 118th Congress is scheduled to convene on Jan. 3, 2023.

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