Lincoln Announces First Senate Agriculture Committee Field Hearing in Little Rock November 23, Ag Business Leadership Breakfast on November 24

Little Rock – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, announced that the Committee will hold its first field hearing, “Revitalizing Rural America,” to examine ways to strengthen and grow Arkansas’s rural economy. The hearing is scheduled for Monday, November 23, at 1:00 p.m. and will be hosted by the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service at the Great Hall of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

Lincoln also announced that she is organizing a statewide, Agriculture & Business Leadership Breakfast on November 24 to examine the impact of U.S. Agriculture, Rural Development and Forestry policy on the state rural and small business economy.  That event is scheduled from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. at the Association of Arkansas Counties Board Room, 1415 Third Street, Little Rock, AR 72201.

“When our nation faces difficult economic times, rural Americans are often the first to feel the impact and the last to recover,” Lincoln said. “This field hearing and leadership breakfast will give me an opportunity to hear firsthand from Arkansans on how we can work together to encourage economic development in our rural communities. Both events will be listening sessions to help keep me in tune with the economic needs and strengths of various sectors of the Arkansas economy as I move forward in constructing the Senate Agriculture Committee’s agenda.”

The Committee will hear testimony from three panels. The first panel will focus on the importance of production agriculture to the rural economy and will consider the impact recent flooding in Arkansas has had on this year’s crop. A second panel will focus on improving rural infrastructure, and the final panel will focus on successful community and economic development initiatives.

Witness List

Panel on Production Agriculture’s Role in the Rural Economy

•    Randy Veach, President of Arkansas Farm Bureau

•    Tom Jones, livestock producer and member of the Arkansas Farm Bureau Board of Directors

•   Allen Bedell, Chairman of the Arkansas Forestry Commission

•    Jeremy Gillam, specialty crop producer, Gillam Farms

•    Michael Jones, President, Merchants and Farmers Bank, Dumas

Panel on Rural Infrastructure

•        Lawrence McCullough, State Director for USDA Rural Development

•        Sam Walls, CEO of Arkansas Capital Corporation

•        Dennis Sternberg, Executive Director of Arkansas Rural Water Association

•        Teddy Gardner, Executive Director of South Arkansas Community Development

Panel on Community and Economic Development Initiatives

•        Annett Pagan, Program Director for U.S. Programs at Winrock International

•        Dr. Robert Cole, Director of the East Arkansas Enterprise Community

•        Dr. Calvin King, Executive Director of Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation

•        John Squires, CEO of Community Resource Group