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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pryor and Farmers Blast Tom Cotton for Reckless Vote Against the Farm Bill

Farmers commended Mark Pryor for his work to pass a comprehensive farm bill, and took Tom Cotton to task for his irresponsible opposition

Little Rock, AR – At a press conference today at the Arkansas state capitol, Sen. Mark Pryor and several Arkansas farmers touted the importance of the comprehensive farm bill for the state’s agricultural economy, while expressing deep concern for Rep. Tom Cotton’s irresponsible vote this week as the only member of Congress from Arkansas to oppose the legislation.

Farmers Harvey Joe Sanner of Des Arc, Andrew Wargo of Watson, and Abraham Carpenter of Grady, praised Pryor’s leadership on this bipartisan effort and said that Cotton’s recklessness on farm issues reflects his misplaced priorities in congress.

Pryor explained that the farm bill illustrates the stark contrast between him and his opponent, Cotton, when it comes to listening to Arkansans and supporting the state’s most important industry.

“You have to find common ground, and you have to do right by the people that you represent,” said Sen. Mark Pryor. “My opponent, however, does not share that view. His is a my-way-or-the-highway approach. He was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against this bill. In fact, he was the only member of the House from the mid-south to vote against it. And that is something that is very telling,”

In addition to praising Pryor’s work on the bipartisan legislation, each of the farmers criticized Cotton for opposing the Farm Bill and voting against the best interests of rural communities and the state’s economic health.

“Cotton’s attitude about farm programs is totally wrong and it’s reckless,” said Harvey Joe Sanner, a retired farmer from Des Arc, Ark. Sanner emphasized that the economic security provided by the farm bill extends far beyond those who farm. “Those dollars, this support in this farm bill, …it gets spent up and down main street. So it’s very important for the rural businesses, mechanics, tractor dealers, welders, flying services — it’s part of our total economy.”

Abraham Carpenter, a produce and row crop farmer from Grady, Ark. stated, “The farm bill that Mark Pryor helped initiate, I’m greatly appreciative for it. Does it have everything we want? Surely not. But it’s the best thing we have on the table and we’ve waited almost two years.

“I’ll vote for Sen. Pryor for his efforts to help pass a farm bill that is not only good for Arkansas, but the whole United States. He works very well across the aisle and gets things done.

“Mark Pryor is probably the most caring individual senator we have,” continued Carpenter. “He cares about not just agriculture but women, infants and children, seniors and all the programs that help the poor and middle class and me.”

Andrew Wargo, who farms cotton, rice, soybean, timber and catfish on 15,000 acres in Watson, Ark. said of Cotton’s vote, “A vote against the farm bill is a vote against the people of Arkansas. What scares me most is how close we came to not having a farm bill. To you non-farm folk, the first thing that would happen is milk would go to about $8 a gallon in less than a month. And similar effects would be seen in our food supply.”

Sen. Pryor elaborated further, adding, “There is no single piece of legislation that is more important to Arkansas’ economy than the farm bill. It drives our state’s economy.”

“This farm bill gives long needed, and unfortunately long overdue, certainty and stability to our agriculture community and our agriculture economy here in Arkansas. The bottom line is Congressman Cotton has voted against this legislation that is so important to Arkansas. When he did that it was a vote against Andrew, it was a vote against Abraham and it was a vote against Harvey Joe. And it was also a vote against Arkansas,” he said.

The Senate is expected to approve the final legislation next week with the support of Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators.

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