MONTICELLO, AR — The 2016 fiscal session of the Arkansas General Assembly became a personal experience for agricultural policy students in the University of Arkansas at Monticello School of Agriculture.
The class recently visited the state capitol in Little Rock and observed multiple legislative sessions and meetings while interacting with legislators and lobbyists. The students attended a meeting of the Joint Budget Committee where they received briefings from legislators on the procedures and issues being considered. Representative Mark McElroy of Desha County introduced the class to the committee.
A tour of the Capitol followed before the group had lunch hosted by the Arkansas Farm Bureau legislative staff. Staff members were joined by Senator Eddie Cheatham of Crossett and Representative Jeff Wardlaw of Warren as they described the unique relationships within the policy development process. Students had opportunities to directly question the staff and legislators in small groups and share their personal backgrounds and post-graduation plans.
Following lunch, Representative Dan Douglas, chair of the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, welcomed the class to his office for a discussion of current agricultural issues. Rep. Douglas shared his experiences and the steps leading from a cattle farmer in Benton County to the committee chair.
Class members were recognized by Representative Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello during a session of the House of Representatives. Students were able to observe the voting process and formal operation of the House. Rep. Lampkin spoke to the class in a private session following dismissal of the General Session where she stressed the contribution that each student could make to the legislative process.
The Senate was the final stop of the day where the “Arkansas Works” bill was approved. Senator Cheatham took the class into the Senate chamber following dismissal of the session and described the significance of the bill on the overall state budget deliberations. The students were accompanied on the trip by Dr. Bob Stark, faculty advisor, and Greg Montgomery, animal science technician for the Southeast Research and Extension Center.
For more information, contact Stark at (870) 460-1014.
UAM AGRI STUDENTS LUNCHEON WITH FARM BUREAU STAFF — UAM students and faculty met with Arkansas Farm Bureau staff members during their recent trip to the state capitol. Pictured from left are James White of Star City, Matthew Miller of Dumas, Alan Peterson of Star City, Cari Beth Wilder of Lake Village, Kenneth Gilley of Dumas, Taylor-Brooke Gunter of Bastrop, La., Daniel Howell of Dumas, Stormy Gallaher of Greenville, Miss., Victor Jimenez of McGehee, Jake Helsley of Bentonville, Jamie Martin of Kingsland, Dustin Jacobson of Cambridge, Ill., Martin Walker of Belzoni, Miss., Brandon Moffatt of Hamburg, Haley Burnett of Monticello, Steven Ferrell of Hermitage, and Garrett Spears of Lonoke.
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