Sen. Boozman: Agriculture, Iran, Highways On Minds Of Residents

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 145 views 

Wednesday was not the perfect day to be in the fields throughout most of Northeast Arkansas due to heavy rains and severe weather.

However, the weather was perfect inside as Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. met with several farmers and officials in three counties.

Boozman is conducting his annual agriculture tour this week, with trips set around the state.

After touring a sorghum farm near Trumann in Poinsett County, Boozman traveled to Marked Tree, Wilson and Crawfordsville (Crittenden County) to hear from people on a variety of issues.

Agriculture was the big issue during the Marked Tree visit to Ritter Agribusiness.

Boozman heard from several producers and suppliers about the Farm Bill, trade with Cuba and government regulation.

On the Farm Bill, Boozman said federal officials are working on the implementation of the law.

Several who attended the meeting told Boozman that county farm service offices have had trouble interpreting various parts of the law and are often strapped for resources.

Boozman told the group that the proposed “Waters of the United States” regulation was “a tremendous overreach.”

Supporters of the EPA regulation have said it would protect water systems around the country, while opponents have said it opens up farmers and landowners to increased regulations.

Speaking of regulations, Boozman said “overregulation is killing us,” and cited a family member’s opinion on the issue.

“My daughter runs a real estate business and every time I see her, she wants to testify in Congress (about regulations),” Boozman said. “Good rules should be based on common sense and science. But creating rules for the sake of rules is wrong.”

Boozman said he also supported creating a two-year schedule for the depreciation of farm equipment, to give farmers an opportunity to trade in older equipment and not be penalized.

During the Wilson visit, Boozman spoke with Mississippi County Judge Randy Carney, Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook, Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner, Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore and Wilson Mayor Becton Bell about issues in Mississippi County.

Kennemore said an issue that has helped area agriculture in the past year or so has been the dredging of the Mississippi River port at Osceola.

The port is home to several agricultural barge and trade facilities with grain and rice barges moving in and out of the port on an almost hourly basis.

Kennemore said he wanted to thank Boozman, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, for their work on the project.

Cook, who served in the military during Desert Storm, asked Boozman about the Iran deal.

Boozman said he opposed the deal and that the sight of Iran with a nuclear bomb should scare everyone.

“It is the number one issue for our generation. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will go nuclear just to protect themselves,” Boozman said. “Plus nuclear proliferation in the Middle East does not make us safer.”

The issue is likely to be taken up when the Senate reconvenes Sept. 8.

Boozman said he believes the House and Senate will vote against the agreement and that President Obama will veto the actions by both houses.

From there, it would take a two-thirds vote by both houses to override the veto.

While the override would be a large hurdle, Boozman said the recent decisions by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-NY and Robert Menendez, D-NJ, to oppose the bill may have some sway with their Democratic colleagues.

Another bill that will be discussed is the Highway Bill.

The Senate approved a six-year bill earlier this year, while the House is working on a long-term bill after approving a short-term bill that will expire Oct. 29.

Boozman said he believes the House will approve a long-term bill and that a long-term bill from both houses will provide some certainty on completing highway projects.