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As the United States works to improve relations with Cuba, Arkansas lawmakers are working to seize the opportunity to improve the state's agricultural economy. Here are stories related to where Arkansas, especially Eastern Arkansas, fits into to this historic national move.

Arkansas farmers meet with Arkansas' Congressional Delegation

Arkansas Rice Federation

Farmers, merchants and millers from the Arkansas Rice Federation met Wednesday with all six members of the state's congressional delegation during the USA Rice Federation's Government Affairs Conference. They discussed with Senators Boozman and Cotton, and Representatives Crawford, Hill, Westerman and Womack, the implementation of the new farm bill and international trade, particularly with regard to rice markets in Cuba and Iraq.


"We appreciate all of our Senators and Representatives for taking the time to meet face-to-face with our Arkansas Rice representatives, particularly the members who are new to Washington," Arkansas Rice Farmers Chairman Dow Brantley said. "With such an important year ahead for the rice industry, we look forward to working closely with our congressional delegation." 



The Arkansas Rice group also heard from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack praised the rice industry for its ongoing commitment to conservation. Arkansas Rice farmers will share in a $10 million grant recently awarded through the USDA's new Regional Conservation Partnership Program.