U.S. Senator Mark Pryor today announced that he will chair the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. As Chairman, Pryor will be responsible for funding federal programs that benefit Arkansas farmers, producers, and rural communities.
“Whether it’s rice, cotton, or poultry, there’s no question that agriculture is critical to our state’s economy,” Pryor said. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations, I’ll fight to ensure that Arkansas receives its fair share of federal dollars so we can keep our agricultural sector strong.”
According to the University of Arkansas, agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, contributing an estimated $17 billion to the state’s economy each year. The agricultural sector also supports over 275,000 jobs, $10.7 billion in labor income, and more than $3 billion in exports annually.
In addition to funding the USDA, Pryor’s subcommittee will also be responsible for funding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has a significant footprint in Arkansas with the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson County, which conducts research to ensure everyday products are safe.
“The NCTR plays an essential role in ensuring the products we use every day, like cosmetics, medical devices, or sunscreen are safe,” Pryor said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to ensure that this center and others have the resources they need to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
“We are pleased to see Senator Pryor receive this appointment, and given agriculture’s significance to the Arkansas economy, we feel this is very appropriate. Our state’s agriculture is diverse and changing to meet the needs of our nation and much of the world. Having Senator Pryor to lead the agricultural appropriation subcommittee will further strengthen Arkansas agriculture, and we congratulate him on this important appointment,” said Randy Veach, President of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.
“Senator Pryor is a long-time friend of agriculture and has a firm understanding of the critical role of agricultural research and extension. The land-grant community is thrilled with this appointment,” said Dr. Mark Cochran, Vice President for Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture.
“Senator Pryor has always had a very ‘hands-on approach’ in coming to our area and finding out directly what he can do to help,” said Lou Ann Nisbett, President and CEO of the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County. “Senator Pryor’s knowledge of Southeast Arkansas and what is important to Delta agriculture, as well as business and industry, is valuable to our community and state. Also, he knows the significance to our country of FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research, which is located in northern Jefferson County. We’re excited that he brings all this background to a new role as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee.”