By Dustin Wright, Seminole Sentinel
Three area members of the United States House of Representatives will converge on the Seminole community on March 31 to discuss one of the lifeblood industries within the West Texas and southeastern New Mexico region — agriculture.
Sponsored by the Western Peanut Growers Association, an Ag Issues Conference entitled “Explore the Possibilities of the 2018 Farm Bill” will be held at the Seminole Community Center, 801 N. Main St. The event is open to all area farmers of all commodities, as well as those involved in the agriculture industry, area community leaders and members of the public who are interested in attending.
Texas Dist. 11 Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Midland), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, as well as Texas Dist. 19 Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) and New Mexico Dist. 2 Congressman Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) are scheduled to be in attendance for the roundtable discussion, as well as former U.S. Congressman Larry Combest (R-Lubbock), who formerly served as the House’s Ag Committee Chairman.
“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to have this meeting planned because agriculture is a major impact to our economy out here and the Farm Bill is a very important piece of legislature to all of us,” said Robbie Blount, Executive Director of the Western Peanut Growers Assoc.
“We encourage anyone with any relation to the agriculture industry to come and join us for this roundtable event.”
The March 31 meeting is slated to begin with an 11:30 a.m. luncheon, with the conference anticipated to begin shortly following, according to information provided by the WPGA. Prior to the start of the conference, members of the WPGA will host the organization’s annual business meeting, which is slated for a 10:30 a.m. start inside the Seminole Community Center.
According to WPGA officials, Conaway will additionally serve as the keynote speaker in the March 31 event.
The Seminole Sentinel attempted to make contact with Conaway, Arrington and Pearce through their respective Washington D.C. offices to seek comment on the March 31st meeting, but was unsuccessful in reaching the Congressmen as of the newspaper’s Friday print deadline.
Conaway, has served Texas’ 11th Congressional District since 2005 and also serves on the House’s Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.
Pearce was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, and held the office until 2008. Following a failed bid for one of New Mexico’s two U.S. Senate seats, Pearce campaigned and was elected again to New Mexico’s Dist. 2 Congressional seat in 2010 and has had successful re-election bids since.
Pearce currently serves on the House’s Financial Services and Natural Resources Committees, according to the Congressman’s website.
Arrington, who is in his freshman Congressional term, was appointed to the House’s Agriculture Committee, where he was additionally named to the following subcommittee positions: General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, the Nutrition subcommittee, and the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.
Additionally, Arrington was also named to the House’s Budget and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
Typically enacted every five years, the U.S. Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation serves as the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the U.S. federal government under the purview of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
Currently, the Agricultural Act of 2014 is governing federal farm programs through the 2018 calendar year. The legislation authorized $956 billion in spending over a 10 year period, according to the online source Wikipedia.
Beginning in 1933, farm bills have included titles on commodity programs, trade, rural development, farm credit, conservation, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs, and marketing, to name a few.