Bipartisan Legislation Strengthens Arkansas’s $17 Billion Ag Economy
WASHINGTON D.C. –Chairman Mark Pryor today spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, bipartisan legislation he crafted to help grow our agricultural industry, support our rural communities, and improve the quality of life for families. Pryor is the Chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
The bill passed unanimously out of the Appropriations Committee in May and will now be voted on by the full Senate as part of the bipartisan appropriations package.
Pryor’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Mr. President, today I rise in support of the FY15 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Ranking Member Blunt and I worked tirelessly to craft this common-sense, bipartisan bill. It passed unanimously out of the Appropriations Committee last month, and I’m confident my colleagues will support it this week on the Senate floor.
Agriculture is something America does better than anyone else. In Arkansas alone, agriculture contributes $17 billion in economic activity annually. It supports 25% of my state’s economy and it is responsible for 1 in 6 jobs.
The Agriculture Appropriations Bill builds on the strengths of our agricultural industry. It invests in the Farm Service Agency. It prohibits the closure of FSA offices, which provide vital services to our farmers & ranchers, and it provides funding for farm ownership loans. It also invests in the Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service so America can continue to innovate and make our agricultural products more efficiently.
But that’s not all this bill does. It also makes smart investments to help improve job opportunities and the quality life for families in rural America. It maintains funding for the Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Program to help our communities obtain clean water and sanitary waste disposal systems. It increases funding for the FDA to ensure our food and drug supply remains the safest and most reliable in the world. It provides funds for the Food Safety and Inspection Service to keep our food supply safe, and it sustains the school meals equipment grants so our schools can provide healthy meals for kids.
We also included funding for disaster relief in this bill. My state was recently devastated by tornadoes. Lives were lost, homes were completely wiped out, and many communities were left in ruins. This bill provides funding to help states—like Arkansas—respond when natural disasters strike.
Supporting this bill is a no-brainer. It sustains our agricultural producers, communities, and families, it strengthens our economy, and it secures the future of our nation.
I hope all my colleagues will join me in supporting this important bill. Thank you.