Crawford delivers speech on campus

By Kayla Paine
On January 30, 2012

A balding man is wearing overalls and holding a pitchfork with his wife to his right. They aren't smiling, despite the blue skies and green leaved trees.

The famous Grant Wood painting "American Gothic" is what Rep. Rick Crawford said is not an accurate portrayal of a farming family today, but he is convinced that some Americans think it is.

Crawford spoke on Thursday during the luncheon of the Arkansas Soil and Water Education conference put on by the College of Agriculture and Technology.

The record enrollment of 225 attendees for the conference listened to Crawford put forth an update of what Congress is doing concerning agriculture and how it will affect District 1.

A new farm bill is being introduced in 2012. The bill will affect local rice, cotton and soy bean farmers.

The biggest concern to Crawford in the new bill is the talk of cutting down the direct payment, which is governmental subsidy to farmers to help supplement their income to set a price floor. Almost half of America's rice comes from District 1, and he believes the direct payment is imperative for farmers in the Delta.

"They consider the direct payment to be a very low hanging fruit, but it's very important to rice and cotton farmers," Crawford said.

He noted that he has been making a national security argument that, if "we become a net food importer," the U.S. has lost food security just as it has energy security.

There were other components to the conference other than the update given by Crawford, and overall it had great feedback

Steve Green, assistant professor of soil and water conservation, was excited about everyone learning to use water more efficiently.

"We've seen more cooperation among agencies and local producers in the Delta," he said. "That has been something we've been able to see lately."

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