JONESBORO, Ark. — Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., has been honored by farming cooperative Riceland Foods, which represents 9,000 rice farmers, for her “dedication and commitment to Arkansas’ rice and agriculture industry in 2005.”

“I am both honored and privileged to accept this award,” said Lincoln from her Washington, D.C., office. “My rural heritage defines who I am as a person. And as a daughter of a farmer and former Riceland member, my passion to protect agriculture and the family farmer comes from the deep family traditions ingrained in me through growing up in the Delta.”

Earlier in November, Lincoln led efforts in the Senate to defeat an amendment by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to the Senate budget reconciliation bill that would have dramatically reduced support to southern farmers and severely altered the nation’s current agriculture policy as established in the 2002 farm bill. Lincoln, who helped write and eventually pass the 2002 farm bill, successfully lobbied her colleagues to defeat such a measure because it would have effectively broken a firm promise the federal government has made to American farmers and ranchers.

Throughout the year, Lincoln has fought numerous cuts to agriculture assistance relied upon heavily by rural communities throughout Arkansas. She also introduced an emergency disaster relief package to help agriculture producers across the country cope with record economic losses suffered this year due to persisting drought conditions and high fuel prices.