Interview with Congressman Marion Berry

Q: There are some rumblings about a supplemental disaster bill. Is there any chance of one coming about?

A: “I don’t think we’ll see a supplemental bill. I’d be very surprised if that happens.

“I was very disappointed in how the main bill turned out. It was another attack on Mid-South agriculture by the Midwest. The Mid-South just didn’t get much out of the bill and our situation is just as difficult – and potentially disastrous – as theirs. But that’s how it came out.

“(Mississippi Republican) Senator Thad Cochran did wonderful work, but (the Mid-South) just got rolled. I was very disappointed.

“The only way we could have gotten anything better is to have held up the bill. That’s very hard to do on the House side. If it was to be done, the Senate had to do it. The strategic decision was made that the interests of the country wouldn’t have been served by doing that.”

Q: What do you think of the formation of an Arkansas Department of Agriculture?

A: “I can tell you that from a federal standpoint it would be very helpful to have someone who could be a point-person and has the ability to speak and advocate for the state. Other than that, it’s a state issue and whatever happens is fine.”

Q: What about fuel prices? Do they concern you?

A: “We’ve known for 30 years that we need to develop an alternative fuel supply. We’re now paying the price for bad vision and policy. We’ll just have to deal with it. It’s a market driven thing and there’s no magic solution. Higher prices encourage development of alternative fuel sources. If there’s a bright spot, that’s it.”

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