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Ag Council Annual Meeting Summary

The Ag Council of Arkansas held its annual board of directors meeting at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock December 12th and 13th. The two day session offered an opportunity for board members to conduct the business of the organization, hear from many informative guest speakers, and enjoy time with each other and visit with special guests, which included Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. On Monday, Governor-elect Sanders announced that she would retain Secretary Ward next year when she begins her first term as governor.

Business Session

During the business session, the board elected officers, executive committee members, and board of director members. Nathan Reed of Marianna was elected to serve as president of the Ag Council. Jeff Rutledge of Newport and Joe Mencer of Lake Village were named Vice Presidents while Rick Bransford of Lonoke was re-elected to serve as Treasurer. The Ag Council board under the leadership of incoming president Nathan Reed named the following individuals to serve on the organization's executive committee along with the aforementioned officers: John C. King III, Helena; Matt Hyneman, Jonesboro; West Higginbothom, Marianna; Dow Brantley, England; David Wallace Jr., Crawfordsville; Pace Hindsley, Marvell; and Jason Felton, Marianna. The board of directors also welcomed new board members Frederick Black, Jr., Pickens; Bradley Day, Dumas; Ryan Johnson, Wilmot; and Brad Doyle, Weiner.

The board of directors also addressed policy matters in setting forth farm bill principles and approving a new resolutions document outlining policy priorities for the Ag Council. The 2023 Resolutions are available here:

Reception & Dinner

The Ag Council held a welcome reception following the board of directors business meeting. The reception, which was sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas offered the opportunity to visit with members and guests. Special guests included Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. Just prior to the meeting Governor-elect Sanders announced her plans to retain Secretary Ward when she takes office in January. Board members were able to visit with each other and spend time welcoming and congratulating Governor-elect Sanders and Secretary Ward.

Following the reception was the Presidents' Dinner. Several past presidents joined the dinner, which included a tribute to outgoing president John C. King III of Helena. King served as president from 2021 through 2022. Upon the expiration of his term, he will continue to serve as an executive committee member as a past president.

General Session

On Tuesday morning, the Ag Council board of directors held its general session. The session offered the opportunity for board members and guests to hear from a variety of expert speakers who covered a range of issues and subject matters including farm labor, agriculture research, education and extension, farmland real estate, and commodity futures markets and macro-economic factors. Speakers included: 1) Mark Martens of Agri-Placements who addressed the H-2A migrant labor program; 2) Dr. Deacue Fields, VP of Agriculture for the University of Arkansas System who addressed research, education and extension efforts of the University System; 3) Roby Brock, Owner of Talk Business Arkansas who provided a review of the 2022 election and preview of the Arkansas General Assembly; 4) Secretary Wes Ward of Arkansas Agriculture Department who provided an update on Department activities; 5) Dr. Aaron Shew of AcreTrader who provided an overview of the company and its various lines of farmland real estate related technology products and services; and 6) Ted Nelson of StoneX who provided an overview of commodity futures markets and macro-economic factors facing agriculture.

Presentations and Contact Information
Mark Martens | (580) 227-0522 | | Slides

Dr. Deacue Fields | (334) 332-3300 | | Slides

Roby Brock | (501) 529-1737 | | Slides

Dr. Aaron Shew | (615) 971-9938 | | Slides

Ted Nelson | (360) 589-1430 | | Slides


Following the general session attendees joined for a luncheon sponsored by Riceland Foods, which featured ample servings of rice dishes.


The Ag Council greatly appreciates its many sponsors, including those who go the extra mile in supporting meetings. Sponsors for the 2022 annual board of directors meeting included:
Reception & Presidents' Dinner - Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas

Luncheon - Riceland Foods

General Meeting Sponsors - Greenway, AGUP-Arkansas Ag, Delta Plastics, StoneX, Nutrien, Rabobank, and Helena Agri-Enterprises. Slides

Thank you sponsors!