© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sen. Boozman expects a new Farm Bill, Ozarktober in downtown Springdale


A new Farm Bill is on the horizon

Arkansas U.S. Senator John Boozman said he expects the new Farm Bill will be passed by the end of the year or early next year. The senator spoke yesterday at the Rotary Club of Downtown Little Rock, where he was joined by Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. Senator Boozman is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years, but expired on October 1st of this year. He said it’s especially important for Arkansas’ agriculture industry, which makes up roughly a quarter of the state’s economy.

"What it does is allow farmers to have the risk management tools that they that they need, so they can go to the bank so they can borrow the money they need to go forward," Sen. Boozman said. "To know that there's a backstop, that there is a crop insurance program, the various other programs that allow them to have the ability, like I say, to borrow the money and continue in business."

Boozman said Congress has allocated enough money to fund programs related to the Farm Bill through the end of the year. He said the new bill will likely have a price tag close to one-and-a-half trillion dollars. 

"Your payroll increases are being dramatic and your cost of equipment," he said. "All of that's going in farm country. So we've got to reset the risk management tools. So that they're meaningful. If we don't do that, then we're essentially gonna pile on, you know, with tools that don't work anymore. So that's going to cost some money."

Farm Bill negotiations have stalled amid Congressional battles over government funding and leadership in the House of Representatives. Despite that, Boozman said he expects the bill to be reauthorized by early 2024 at the latest.

Fayetteville City Council tables resolution to purchase and donate real estate in historic Black community

Fayetteville City Council has “indefinitely tabled” a resolution to purchase real estate in the city’s historic Black community and subsequently donate that property to a local African American nonprofit. The city attorney advised the mayor and council that such a transaction would likely be unconstitutional. The proposal was made by the Northwest Arkansas Black Heritage Association who is now working with consultant Emma Willis to come up with a new resolution. 

“Instead what we believe to be a more reasonable approach is to look at the progressive nature of the city of Fayetteville, understand who you have historically been and the Black narrative here in the state of Arkansas," Willis said. "Whereas most of our counterparts were sundown towns, Fayetteville allowed for Black residents to take refuge to build homes and to have a quality of life. And because of that we think it is something that is worth being preserved. And because of that we are seeking to come back, be partners with the city and draft the resolution that would allow for a local historic district.”

The district would be located in the Spout Spring Branch Willow Avenue neighborhood east of the town square, first settled after the Civil War. Willis said they will have to collect 360 signatures from property owners in support of a historic district to submit to the city for legal review.

“This is an opportunity to set a precedent and the reason we're requesting partnership here is because this is not usually a conversation we have when it comes to preserving Black spaces or historically Black spaces,” she said.

Willis is consulting with the city’s historic preservation office, as well as established African-American historic districts for insight. City council members plan to tour Fayetteville’s Black district this autumn.

Ozarktober returns to Springdale for fall fun

Ozarktober is returning to Downtown Springdale this weekend. Families can head to Turnbow Park on Friday night from 6-9 for free music, fall activities, hay rides, bonfires, and food courtesy of The City Church NWA. The festivities continue on Saturday at Magnolia Gardens with live music and more. Marketing and communications director for the Downtown Springdale Alliance Kyra Ramsey said she is excited for the event to return to the venue.

"We have had this event there in years past and we're bringing it back," Ramsey said. "It's such a great venue for this type of event. We're going to be hosting— Oh gosh, I think about a half a dozen really incredible live performances by blues and bluegrass bands. Music starts at 2 p.m. and it runs until 9 p.m., and then we'll also have beers and ciders there. Wrights Barbecue is going to have a really great plated food available for purchase. And all of the proceeds from Wrights goes to a really cool cause— their Hogs for the Cause fundraiser.

Ramsey said bluegrass fans will not regret making their way to Downtown Springdale on Saturday.

"It's got some really incredible bands lined up," she said. "So I think if you're really into blues and bluegrass, you will be delighted."

Tickets for Saturday’s event are on sale now, with a ticket level for an unlimited beer pass and commemorative stein as well. You can visit Eventbrite for purchasing and more information.

Stay Connected
Jacqueline Froelich is an investigative reporter and news producer for <i>Ozarks at Large.</i>
Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Jack Travis is a reporter for Ozarks at Large.
Related Content