Mid-South agriculture received a huge setback in 2010 when Marion Berry, an Arkansas Democrat, retired after seven terms. His seat was won by Rep. Rick Crawford, who defeated Berry’s former chief of staff, Chad Causey.
Replacing the influence and knowledge that Berry wielded in Congress won’t be easy, but Crawford, a Republican, appears every bit in agriculture’s corner as his predecessor. Rep. Crawford has been appointed to two committees, the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
In a speech to farmers at the Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference in Baton Rouge, La., Crawford was definitely talking the talk. In time, I have a feeling he’ll be walking the walk as well.
In just his second public appearance since winning the seat, Crawford set the stage for the months ahead. “What I’ve learned in my first few weeks is that it’s all about cutting the budget, but it’s just as important to spend the money in the best way possible. The crosshairs will be on agriculture because it’s low hanging fruit.”
Crawford, an Army veteran, said that he will push for keeping the safety net intact for producers, including continuing direct payments.
“Direct payments to farmers are in the best interests of the country,” Crawford said. “I will fight that fight for you, and I will not cave in on that fight. It’s a matter of national security. We don’t want to have to import food from countries that might not like us very much.”
You get the feeling that the former bomb disposal technician for the Army isn’t accustomed to backing down easy.
Crawford also said he like to clip EPA’s wings, noting that “EPA has forgotten who they work for. They work for you. And EPA doesn’t have the right to regulate anything that is not approved by Congress.”
Rep. Crawford grew up in a military family where his father served in the United States Air Force. Upon graduation, Crawford enlisted in the Army, advanced to the rank of sergeant in under three years and earned numerous medals for service in the United States and Southwest Asia.
Crawford attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro graduating in 1996 with a B.A. in Agriculture Business and Economics. During his time as a student at ASU, he was also a professional rodeo announcer, an activity he continued after graduation.
Crawford has a broad experience in agriculture. Since graduating in 1996, Crawford’s career has been primarily focused on agriculture in both ag communications and general agri-business. He has been a news anchor, ag reporter, and served as marketing manager for the second largest John Deere dealer group in North America.
Crawford and his wife Stacy, also an ASU graduate, live in Jonesboro with their two children.