April 4, 2007 Edition

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Berry discusses budget, farm bill

Congressman Marion Berry (right) visits with Imboden Mayor Gene Dearen (left) and Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts after a roundtable discussion held at the Lawrence County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Congressman Marion Berry met with Lawrence County citizens and government officials on Tuesday afternoon to discuss issues of importance to county residents.

"My primary purpose is to hear from you and get a perspective on where we should be focusing our efforts," said Berry.

Berry discussed the new budget, which he said will allow for more funds in the areas of law enforcement, fire protection and education. He also discussed changes in administration in the U.S. and in the first district.

"The American people spoke last November," he said. "They said we don't care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, we want to see change." Berry added that there are more new mayors in the first congressional district this year than there have been in his lifetime.

When addressed by County Judge Alex Latham with a concern over the new farm bill, Berry said it will provide enough money to have the same farm bill as last year and add appropriations for dairy and peanut farms.

There will be $20 billion extra dollars in the farm bill this year according to Berry, of which $15 billion will be used for research and development of bio-fuels.

"We need more information, more research and more pilot plants," he said. Berry added that those who raise livestock are being hurt by the raised prices of soybeans and grain, caused by the increased interest in bio-fuels, but that the market will take care of the problem on its own.

Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts asked Berry about the issue of a water supply line being discussed that would run water from Eleven Point to as far south as Jonesboro and Paragould.

In response, Berry said "I think good things are going to happen along that line."

Berry also discussed issues such as FEMA and the war funding bill.

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