CONWAY, AR - At the Lewis Livestock Auction in Conway, a sign reads "do not spit on floor," but chances are the farmers in attendance wouldn't mind a little rain on the floor.
"They're dealing with a drought situation none of them in living memory can remember," said Assistant Manager Buddy Smith. He says farmers are selling cattle they probably wouldn't otherwise because right now it's so difficult to feed them.
"It's the fact that they're selling the factory," he explained. "A cow sold this year doesn't produce a calf for next year."
Enter senator John Boozman, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who spoke with farmers at the auction Tuesday. He says the drought problem is much larger than area farmers, pointing out that about 30% of Arkansas' income comes from agriculture.
"At some point it's gonna translate to increased prices on the table, and certainly our single moms, people on a fixed income, all of us - that becomes very difficult," said Boozman. It's why he wants to get the farmers help, specifically in the form of federal drought relief.
"I think that it will be received much better by senators and congressman as they go home, get out and about and really understand the extent of the problem that we've got," he said.
At Tuesday's auction, Boozman also stressed the importance of getting a new farm bill done in Washington, saying farmers "don't know what the rules will be for the next five years," and that makes things even tougher.