by Max Brantley
Eight days to go and we find A$a in Washington, advocating for Arkansas farmers. Release on the jump. A campaign spokesman insists in response to our question that, while the candidate had several other meetings in Washington today, all were related to Arkansas politics, not any private business interests. What he meant was, A$a was shaking down lobbyists for money.
Elsewhere, we're checking a rumor that Mike Beebe has filed objections to ads linking him to the felonious Nick Wilson. The ads distort reality pretty dramatically, but what's new?
HUTCHINSON NEWS RELEASE
Washington D.C. –Asa Hutchinson, the 2006 Republican nominee for Governor, met today with the high-ranking federal officials to advocate for Arkansas farmers’ interests in the development of the 2007 farm bill, including calling for more federal funding for biofuels research.
Hutchinson met Monday morning with Charles Conner, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to discuss the needs of Arkansas farmers and how the next farm bill could better serve this vital sector of the Arkansas economy.
“I grew up on a small farm in Gravette, and I understand the vital role that farmers play in our state’s economy,” Hutchinson said. “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to visit with the Deputy Secretary Conner to discuss the needs of the farm community in Arkansas and I’m looking forward to continuing to advocate for those needs as Governor.
“Arkansas needs a governor who can provide a strong voice to stand up for the state’s needs,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson noted that Conner would play a key role in developing the 2007 Farm Bill that will come before Congress next year, so it’s important to let him know about the situation facing Arkansas farmers.
“I emphasized that this is a tough time for Arkansas farmers, with the high cost of fuel and other agricultural inputs making it more difficult for them to stay afloat,” Hutchinson said. “I told him that the farm support payments and the safety net that was put into place in the ’02 Farm Bill have helped tremendously, but we need to continue the work of providing for the needs of our farmers through more investment in biofuels research, expanding grants for surface-water retention programs for irrigation and other key initiatives.”
Hutchinson has vowed to be a strong advocate for Arkansas farmers and agricultural producers by drawing on his extensive experience in Congress to fight for the state's needs in the 2007 farm bill and by supporting the new state Department of Agriculture.
In addition, Hutchinson wants to help Arkansas lead the nation in the development and marketing of biofuels and other bioproducts derived from Arkansas agricultural commodities. These innovative products offer tremendous opportunities for the future for the state's rice, soybean and cotton farmers, Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson has focused on support for the bio-industry in Arkansas, which is why he has called for increased investment in research and development at the state's universities, which are on the cutting edge of such research around the nation. Arkansas State University's program in biosciences and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's aquaculture research program are just two examples of the great work taking place in Arkansas, Hutchinson has noted.