The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) presented its 2012 Legislator of the Year Award to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.). This award is given annually to a member, or members, of Congress who work closely with ARA in helping to champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry.
The efforts of Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Mica help to address many key transportation and infrastructure issues that have a direct impact on the competitiveness and economic well-being of the agriculture industry.
"It is an honor to recognize Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Mica with ARA's Legislator of the Year award," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. "Their leadership resulted in the passage of critical legislation on several issues important to ag retailers, including the Hours of Service exemption for agriculture. We appreciate their dedication and continued support for the agriculture industry."
As an outcome of Sen. Klobuchar's work in the Senate and Rep. Mica's efforts on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 112th Congress, a 2-year reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Bill was passed last summer which covered many key transportation needs for the industry, including clarification to the Hours of Service exemption. This critical exemption now applies to the transportation of all farm supplies, including the movements from distribution point to retailers, as well as across state lines where both states have already adopted the exemption.
"Working with ARA, we have made progress with transportation reforms to aid movement of products, commodities and meeting modern industry needs," said Rep. Mica. "It has been my honor to assist ARA and its membership on these successes, and now we must roll up our sleeves to make ARA members and their industry prosperous." Congressman Mica spoke at ARA's February Board meeting where he was presented with the award.
Richard Gupton presented Sen. Klobuchar with her award at her office in Washington last week.
"From the food on our tables to the fuel in our gas tanks, farmers and ranchers need to be able to move their goods to market, and that requires 21st century infrastructure with rules that take into account the needs of rural communities," Sen. Klobuchar said. "I am honored to have received this award, and I will continue to work to reduce red tape and ensure that American agriculture can continue to export to the world." The Legislator of the Year Award was presented to Senator Klobuchar at the end of last week in Washington.