Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday July 23, 2018 presented to hundreds of Arkansas farmers and ranchers a revised transformation plan for the state’s Department of Agriculture. Two years ago, the state farm lobby derailed similar legislation and this time Hutchinson delivered his plea in person.

The governor was Monday’s keynote speaker for the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 70th officers and leaders conference. The event was held in Rogers.

Hutchinson said state government has ballooned over the years with 42 departments reporting directly to him. In comparison, he said the much larger federal government has just 15 direct department reports to the commander-in-chief.

He assured the farm group the regulatory functions of Arkansas agriculture would not change with the proposed changes. He said agriculture organizations will continue to appoint members to designated boards and commissions. Earlier this year, Hutchinson appointed Mike Freeze, co-owner of Key Fish Farms, to the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

“The voice of agriculture is important to the state and I have heard your request for representation to this commission. Under this plan, the Secretary of Agriculture will also be an additional and permanent member of the state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission,” Hutchinson said.