Ag Retailers Honor Senators

Cindy ZimmermanARA, Audio, Government

The Agricultural Retailers Association recently recognized two legislators who have lead efforts to defend the industry’s freedom to operate. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) were both were named ARA’s 2015 Legislator of the Year during the organization’s recent meeting in Washington DC.

Senator CochranARA recognized Sen. Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for his determined efforts on behalf of the agricultural industry during his years of service in the Senate. Recently, Cochran was instrumental in providing agricultural retailers with urgent regulatory relief from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management Standard in the Fiscal Year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act. In the photo Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) accepts the 2015 Agricultural Retailers Association Legislator of the Year award from ARA President & CEO Daren Coppock. They are joined by ARA Chairman Harold Cooper, Premier Ag; Andrew Duff, Pinnacle Ag Holdings; and Dave Dufault, J.R. Simplot.

“It was very thoughtful to be recognized in this way‎,” Cochran added. “I’m flattered and appreciate the honor.”

Listen to Senator Cochran’s response here: [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)”]

Senator ThuneSen. Thune has been prominent in pressing another vital policy issue for agricultural retailers: transportation. In the photo Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) accepts his award from Steve Briggs, South Dakota Wheat Growers; and Dufault during a visit to the Congressman’s office February 2.

In addition to his steadfast support of the agricultural industry, ARA recognized Sen. Thune, chairman of the Transportation Committee, for his efforts to reform the Surface Transportation Board, address the Positive Train Control deadline, and enact a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

Thune has also been outspoken about the Environmental Protection Agency’s redefinition of Water of the United States under the Clean Water Act. “The administration is very intent on regulating ditches, ponds and puddles, which is a tremendous overreach,” Thune said. “[Expansion of WOTUS] causes great economic harm to farmers, ranchers and small business owners. It’s a detriment and a barrier to a prosperous ag economy.”

Listen to an interview with Thune here: [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Interview with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)”]

ARA presents its Legislator of the Year award annually to a member, or members, of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry. The awards were presented as the ARA Board of Directors visited Congressional offices earlier this month.