U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas will be presented with the Golden Plow award by the American Farm Bureau, the highest honor the organization gives to sitting members of Congress.
Boozman becomes the third Arkansan to earn the Golden Plow, following Sen. David Pryor (1989) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (2008). He will receive the award at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4 during Arkansas Farm Bureau’s annual Young Farmers & Ranchers convention, set for the DoubleTree Hilton in Hot Springs. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and ArFB President Rich Hillman will present the award.
Boozman serves as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. in his second term as senator after five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, he is a 10-time Friend of Farm Bureau, awarded to members of Congress who have supported Farm Bureau’s policy position issues.
“Sen. John Boozman is a champion for agriculture,” said Rich Hillman, a rice farmer from Carlisle who serves as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau and who nominated Boozman for the Golden Plow. “Our nation’s farmers and ranchers could not be better served than we are with John Boozman leading agriculture policy efforts in the U.S. Senate. He epitomizes the spirit of the Golden Plow award.
“He has never wavered in supporting the needs of farmers and ranchers and regularly leads the fight to improve the situation for the family farms of this country. He’s a staunch supporter of the rural way life, which is so important to the future of agriculture and future generations who want to continue to live in rural America.
“Sen. Boozman always makes time to listen to farmers and ranchers in Arkansas and follows that with meaningful actions in Washington, D.C. As the Ranking Member on the Senate ag committee, he is at the center of national agriculture policy discussions, and his understanding of agriculture is important.”
Boozman supported the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provided vital support for the agricultural community during the coronavirus pandemic. It delivered $9.5 billion in emergency support for agricultural producers.
The senator played a key role on the inclusion of poultry growers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), an unprecedented benefit for contract growers, who have been excluded from federal support programs historically because they do not own the birds they raise. This action resulted in almost $1 billion in federal assistance to support poultry growers who were seeing reduced flock placement because of supply chain challenges that resulted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boozman has led efforts to improve United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition programs and provide flexibility for school districts and community partners to reach children in rural areas and help them get needed nutrition when school is out of session for the summer. During the coronavirus pandemic, provisions from his legislation were implemented by USDA as a waiver to ensure students have access to healthy and nutritious meals.
As a co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, Boozman has led efforts to combat hunger in the United States and across the world, including the Global Food Security Act of 2016 and the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2017.
Throughout his time in office, Boozman has advocated for expanded business development and job training opportunities in rural areas. His position on the Senate Committee on Appropriations allowed him to secure $2.8 million for the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Access (ATTRA) program for Fiscal Year 2021. This program connects Arkansas agricultural producers to information that helps them improve their operations. ATTRA also administers the Armed to Farm program that assists veterans in transition to civilian life by training them for a career in farming. The program has a regional headquarters located in Fayetteville.
Boozman served as a conferee on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee, where he helped craft the compromise legislation between the Senate and House of Representatives. During the last Farm Bill negotiations, he ensured the final version provided a workable safety net for farmers and ranchers. The Farm Bill Conference Report included several provisions he authored, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reform, trade promotion funding for marketing U.S. agriculture products in Cuba, regulatory reform, and many other priorities for Arkansas agriculture.
“The Senator’s best attribute is his ability to find consensus,” Hillman said. “He will always stand for what he believes, though part of being a leader is putting aside the small stuff and working for the common good.
“He is the epitome of a statesman and has always represented Arkansas farmers’ and ranchers’ interests with tenacity and the highest integrity.”