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Ag Council News and Info Brief February 13

February 13, 2023


Senate Kicks Off Farm Bill Hearings: The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee began its first series of Farm Bill hearings in the new Congress this February. These hearings consist of witnesses from the federal government and focused on implementation of programs authorized by various titles of the Farm Bill. The first hearing considered the Trade and Horticulture titles while the second considered the Commodity, Crop Insurance, and Trade titles.

2.2.2023 Trade & Horticulture Hearing:
Related Articles: Boozman Opening Statement | Stabenow Opening Statement
2.9.2023 Commodity, Crop Insurance, and Trade Hearing:
Related Articles: Agri-Pulse | Boozman Opening Statement | Stabenow Opening Statement | AgWeb |
2.16.2023 Nutrition Hearing:

House Hearing Focused on WOTUS: The U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing focused on the recent WOTUS final rule issued by the Biden administration. The new rule, which is set to go into effect March 20th has been widely criticized by many industries, including agriculture, for being overly broad, threatening to businesses and farms, and untimely due to an impending case before the Supreme Court of the United States. More...Agri-Pulse | T&I Committee Release | T&I Release II | Video


Plant Board Bill Sails Through Senate: On February 8th, the Arkansas Senate approved 35-0 a bill (SB191) amending the appointment process for members of the State Plant Board. The bill, sponsored by Senator David Wallace was aimed at providing a remedy to recent state court decisions that ruled against industry organizations being able to directly select individuals for appointment to the board. The law contains an emergency clause, which would allow the Governor to quickly fill the 9 seats that were ordered to be vacated by the court. During consideration of the bill, Senator Wallace expressed a need to consider similar legislation for other boards that contain similar appointment processes to that of those ordered vacated. This bill, which was supported by the Ag Council, is expected to move quickly through the House and be signed into law by Governor Sanders. More...ArkansasOnline

Bill Aimed at Unwinding Net Metering Filed: On Wednesday, February 8th, a new bill (HB1370) was filed in the General Assembly taking aim at net-metering rules. The bill, which is supported by the large utility providers, would allow for much of the current policies related to new participants in renewable electricity production to be stripped away. The Ag Council of Arkansas supports current laws related to net-metering, and we oppose efforts to diminish opportunities for our industry to utilize land to invest in renewable electricity production that can be transferred to the electric grid. More...ArkansasAdvocate | UofA on Net Metering

Arkansas Rice Announces Proposal to Increase Check-off Funds: Arkansas Rice, the state's leading industry representing Arkansas rice farmers and other segments of the state's rice industry, has settled on a proposal to raise check-off funds to address funding challenges facing the research and promotion efforts of the industry. Funds collected by the Rice Check-off through assessments on rice sold are utilized by farmers to invest in a range of efforts to advance the rice industry through research, education, and foreign and domestic market promotion. The Ag Council of Arkansas recognizes the funding challenges related to important research and promotion efforts, and we intend to work with Arkansas Rice and the legislature to explore potential solutions to strengthen the check-off program with additional funding. More...Arkansas Rice Proposal | History of Rice Check-off | Overview of Research ROI | USA Rice Overview

Legislature Files 33 Constitutional Amendments: As the filing deadline for constitutional amendments closed on February 8th, the total number of proposed constitutional amendments for voter consideration totaled 33. The legislature may refer up to 3 initiatives to voters in the 2024 election cycle. More...ArkansasOnline | TalkBusiness

January Revenues Remain Strong: In a recent report, the Arkansas Department of Finance showed that state tax collections remain strong. According to the January monthly report, year to date revenue collections are 5 percent ahead of 2022 fiscal year levels, and January revenues were 10.5% ahead of estimates at 1.5% above the same month last year. More...January Revenue Report | TalkBusiness |

Governor Unveils Outline for Education Package: On Wednesday, February 8th, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders unveiled with much fanfare in the State Capitol an outline of her education plan known as Arkansas LEARNS. The plan is focused on literacy, parental empowerment, school accountability, career and workforce readiness, broadband networks, and school safety. Serving as cornerstones of her plan are significant increases in teacher pay and school choice. A bill putting the plan into legislative form is expected to be filed in the coming days. More...

Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting in Stuttgart Featured Congressional Staff: On January 26th, Arkansas Rice held its annual meeting in Stuttgart. The meeting offered a variety of panelists who addressed a range of issues. The farm bill was a major focus of the meeting, and Congressional staff from Arkansas's delegation provided the latest information on the development of the legislation. More...ArkansasOnline | USARice

Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Set for March 3rd: The Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame will induct the Class of XXXV at a luncheon ceremony March 3rd in Little Rock. Included in the class are Ag Council board of director members Bert Greenwalt and Steve Stevens. Tickets, tables, and sponsorships are available here:

Reed Re-elected as Chair of American Cotton Producers: At the National Cotton Council (NCC) annual meeting in Dallas February 10-12, Ag Council president Nathan Reed of Marianna was re-elected to serve as chairman of the American Cotton Producers (ACP) for 2023. Reed was first elected to lead the producer segment of the NCC in 2022. The annual meeting offered an opportunity for the organization to develop policy for the U.S. cotton industry and set priorities for the upcoming farm bill, which is due for reauthorization this year. More...NCC News | NCC Grower Survey

MidSouth Farm & Gin Show Set for February 24-25: The 71st Annual MidSouth Farm & Gin Show is set for February 24-25 in Memphis at the Renasant Convention Center. More...Registration | Event Website

UofA Winter Production Meetings Underway: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture announced upcoming meeting dates and locations for its winter production meetings, which began January 10th and run through March 1. More...UADA News Release | Schedule

Other Arkansas Ag News of Interest:
Greenway & State Grants Bolster New Agriculture Tech Training Learning Center at Lonoke High School
Ag Council VP Joe Mencer Named Cotton Marketer of the Year
Grow for the Green Winners Announced
Most Crop Per Drop Winners Announced
Arkansas Century Farm Program Now Accepting Applications
UofA Announces Hiring of New Soybean Breeder
UofA Holding Discovery Farm Conference Feb 15-16
Farm Bureau to Hold Winter Commodity Division Meetings Feb 22

Additional Arkansas Ag Resources:
UADA Crop Budgets
UADA Winter Production Meetings
National Ag Law Center Estate/Succession Planning Webinar 2.15.2023
LeadAR Leadership Application Deadline Closes Feb 24
UofA Variety Test Homepage
Rice Performance Trial Data
Cotton Variety Testing Update


February 8 WASDE Report: On February 8th, USDA released a new World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate. The January report offered some bullish data from its December report as it relates to corn, soybeans and rice. The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere announced a memorandum of understanding that will allow farmers to repair their own equipment. More...WASDE | Secretary's Briefing | WASDE Visualization | AgWeb | DTN |

USDA ERS Farm Income Forecast

Arkansas Economic Profile: 2022 Pocket Facts - News | USDA Arkansas Ag Economic Overview | Arkansas Ag Census Data | Arkansas Historical Data