U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Inline to be The Next Chairman of Ag Committee, Says The New Farm Bill Will Receive Priority in 2021Wed, 21 Oct 2020 15:05:39 CDT
U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) could be inline to take over chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee following Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) retirement at the end of the current session.
Sen. Boozman was interviewed by farm broadcaster Carah Hart, Red River Farm Network, at the recent Crop Insurance Professionals Association fall conference in West Virginia.
During a Q and A session, the status of another COVID-19 stimulus package was discussed. The Arkansas Senator said he was doubtful there would be a relief package passed before the election.
I think at this point we have all kinds of politics involved, Boozman said. But, after the election is over Congress will come together and provide the relief we need, he said.
He said it's not so much a stimulus package as it is a survival package.
As Ag Committee chairman, Boozman would have a major leadership role in programs impacting agriculture. Many changes are anticipated after the election, including the Senate Ag Committee leadership.
I hope the Senate remains in Republican control, he said.
If the Democrats gain control, I really worry about the regulatory atmosphere which is so important for the farm community, Boozman said.
He noted there is a list of priorities for the ag committee beginning in 2021.
Almost immediately we will start working on the new farm bill which will be up in 2023, he said.
Early farm bill discussions revolve around bolstering the food supply chain, market disruptions in the cattle industry and a lack of competition in the packing industry.
He noted there is no shortage of challenges for the committee.
Boozman said they must listen to farmers as the answers need to come from the ground up, so we don't have unintended consequences.
The committee will also focus on agricultural trade issues.
I hope the trade situation will be better, he said, as we are continuously looking for new markets, he said.
I have been a big advocate of trading with Cuba as I think that is how you change societies through relationships, Boozman said.
He pledged to continue working with USDA on programs to help farmers.
Disaster relief programs have been a common theme in recent years and Boozman said he will be working very closely with USDA.
For those who think farmers don't need help, he pointed to all the negative things impacting agriculture recently, such as the trade battles with China, coronavirus, and severe weather.
Boozman said crop insurance and other risk management programs such as the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP +) is important and has been used tremendously.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more comments from Sen. Boozman.
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