Ag Council Meeting Featured Governor Hutchinson and Secretary Ward

The Ag Council board of directors held its spring meeting on May 10th in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The meeting featured Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. Following their presentations, the board of directors visited about a variety of public policy matters as well as Ag Council business matters.

During his remarks, Governor Hutchinson addressed his perspective on the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force and its correlation to agriculture, his initiative on reforming state government through his office of transformation and its advisory council, and the ongoing work of the Red Tape Reduction Work Group studying regulatory structures on licensing requirements for various industries and professions.

The Governor stressed his support for maintaining agriculture related exemptions for sales and use taxes related to agricultural inputs and his support for the State Plant Board as the regulatory body for rule making and enforcement for the row crop industry. He also noted his goal of elevating and strengthening the role of the Agriculture Department within his cabinet through the state government reform effort. He stated his intent to work closely with the Ag Council of Arkansas and other agriculture groups as he and the members of the general assembly develop policy that impacts agriculture.

Secretary Ward echoed many of the statements made by the Governor and provided an update on various activities at the Arkansas Agriculture Department and efforts to continue to serve Arkansas’s agriculture industry. He too noted his intent to work with the Ag Council and serving as a strong advocate for agriculture in the Hutchinson Administration and at the General Assembly.

Following their remarks, Ag Council board members discussed a wide range of policy matters at both the state and federal level. They also discussed further internal Ag Council business.