Agriculture is the number one industry in Arkansas. Our congressional district is home to a great variety of agricultural interests. The Mississippi River Delta produces cotton, rice, corn, soybeans, wheat and even peanuts. In contrast to the Delta, stand the Ozark Foothills where we have poultry, cattle, dairy and timber producers. More rice is produced in our congressional district than any other district in the nation. In fact, our district is responsible for half of all rice produced in the United States. For farm families in our state to thrive, strong representation in Congress is essential.
This week I was honored to have House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas ask me to serve as the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit in the 113th Congress. While I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the subcommittee, I know much work must be done to ensure mid-South producers can stay in business.
My new subcommittee will have jurisdiction over: livestock, dairy, poultry, meat, seafood and seafood products, inspection, marketing, and promotion of such commodities, aquaculture, animal welfare and grazing, rural development, farm security, family farming matters, and agricultural credit. No other subcommittee better reflects the diversity of our region's agricultural-based economy.
Serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit will give me a larger platform to advocate for farm families in Arkansas and across the country. As Chairman of the Subcommittee I will be able to call Congressional hearings on issues critical to producers and craft common-sense policy that gives farmers the chance to continue producing the safest, most abundant and affordable source of food on the planet. I also want shine light on federal programs that can be run more effectively and efficiently.
Annually, agriculture in Arkansas has a $16 billion economic footprint and employs over 260,000 Arkansans. Of all the members on the House Agriculture Committee, I am the only representative from the mid-south. With my new leadership position, I hope to be an even stronger voice for the concerns of mid-south farmers and I will work to educate members of the committee from other regions about the challenges our producers face.