WASHINGTON – On National Agriculture Day, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) urged the Biden administration and his colleagues in Congress to recognize the impact inflation, rising fuel costs, supply chain disruptions, high input costs, tariffs and uncertainty surrounding global commodity markets are having on farmers and rural communities.
At a Senate Ag Committee hearing examining the so-called “Care Economy” in rural America, Boozman underscored the administration’s misplaced priorities and the need to instead prioritize the challenges facing the agriculture industry and the communities it underpins, including higher fuel costs. Gasoline prices are up nearly 50 percent since President Biden took office and the average price of unleaded gasoline nationally is now at $4.25 per gallon.
“Last week, the mayor of Monette, Arkansas, Bob Blankenship, spoke about how diesel prices are approaching $5 per gallon, and his concerns about what fuel expenses may do to Monette’s budget and, ultimately, operations of essential services if city officials are forced to make difficult budget choices,” Boozman said.
“Whether it’s regulatory decisions like cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, placing a moratorium on conventional energy development on federal land, or failing to follow through on campaign promises to implement strong biofuels measures to reduce prices at the pump and support our nation’s farmers, the actions of this administration have certainly not been good for rural quality of life,” the senator continued. “A common theme I hear from farmers and other rural Arkansans when I am back home every weekend is frustration with misplaced priorities and misguided policies.”
Boozman has consistently called on President Biden to abandon his partisan tax-and-spend agenda and instead focus on getting inflation, which is at a 40-year high of 7.9 percent, under control and provide more support to U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters, including:
- Urging the administration to immediately take all necessary steps to curtail the impact higher fertilizer prices will have on American farmers and consumers;
- Describing inflation as “a national emergency” and portraying its detrimental impact on food producers as well as American consumers;
- Calling on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to delay the Conservation Reserve Program sign-up deadline and provide flexibility for farmers to purchase crop insurance to help counter the unprecedented disruption in global crop markets brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine;
- Highlighting the lack of focus on rural America in the president’s State of the Union address.