Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday told members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau he is worried about the possible impact of automatic cuts to the federal budget on Arkansas farmers, but Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said later he believes the process known as sequestration could be a good thing.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday told members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau he is worried about the possible impact of automatic cuts to the federal budget on Arkansas farmers, but Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said later he believes the process known as sequestration could be a good thing.

A special congressional committee’s recent failure to reach a deal on more than $1 trillion over 10 years triggered the sequestration process. The cuts are to begin in January 2013.

In a speech at the Farm Bureau’s annual convention in Little Rock, Beebe said he supports cutting federal spending, but cuts should not be arbitrary.

“They have to cut spending in a rational way, not just in an irrational way across the board without regard to picking and choosing where they will. Because of what they were unable to do with their supercommittee, I fear today what’s going to happen to agriculture and to those support programs necessary,” Beebe said.

But Veach said later in an interview that automatic cuts conceivably could be better for agriculture in Arkansas than selected cuts.

“In that sequestration, it will be a proportionate cut, a percentage cut across the board of all government spending, with some exemptions,” he said. “Actually, we would probably see less cut in ag programs that way than we will if they just start slashing here and there.”

Veach said Southern agriculture producers — who rely on programs that may differ from programs relied on by farmers in other parts of the country — are represented by a relatively small number of people in Congress, especially in the House.

“We’ll be a big target to take a non-proportionate cut from our programs” if the cuts are not automatic, he said.