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Ag Council News & Info Brief December 30th

December 30, 2022


Congress Approves Fiscal Year Spending Bill Just Before Christmas: The U.S. House and Senate concluded the 117th Congress just before Christmas by approving a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that funded various federal government activities through the remainder of the fiscal year and included other law changes that either had broad bipartisan support or were considered must pass year-end measures. The spending bill included several agricultural related provisions, including additional disaster assistance funding for farmers, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and the Pesticide Registration and Improvement Act of 2022 (PRIA). The House and Senate will return in January to a new Congress comprised of many newly elected members and a new republican majority in the House of Representatives.

More... Agri-Pulse | Agri-Pulse II | Senate Appropriations News | Bill Text | DTN | AgWeb | Boozman Statement | Bill Summary | Additional Summaries

Omnibus Bill Approved Supplemental Assistance for Rice Farmers & Cotton Merchandisers: The Omnibus bill approved by the U.S. House and Senate in the final hours of the 117th Congress included $250 million in supplemental assistance for rice farmers who grew rice in the 2022 crop year as well as $100 million for cotton merchandisers. In addition, supplemental funds were made available to continue the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), formerly known as Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP). The assistance for rice producers is aimed at offsetting high input costs and other challenges experienced during the growing season. The rice program payments have separate payment limits from other programs, and payments are to be made within 120 days of enactment. Senator Boozman was instrumental in all agricultural components of the omnibus bill.

More...Arkansas Online | USA Rice | National Cotton Council Release | AgWeb | ArkansasOnline II

Congress Approves Several Biden Nominees Prior to Adjournment: The U.S. Senate approved multiple nominees of President Biden prior to adjourning the 117th Congress. Included in the list of nominees approved were high level USDA positions. More... Agri-Pulse | AgWeb

EPA Issues New Final Rule on WOTUS: On Friday, January 30th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a final rule defining waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). The new rule maintains the controversial "significant-nexus" test when determining jurisdictional waters while also codifying a number of agriculture related exemptions to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Supreme Court of the U.S. is also expected to reach a ruling on a significant case related to this section of the CWA next year. More... Agri-Pulse | DTNPF | DTNPF II | Final Rule | EPA I | EPA II |

U.S. Continues to Efforts to Adjust Mexico's Plans for GM Corn Imports: The U.S. and Mexico continue to discuss matters related to Mexico's recently announced plans to limit imports of genetically modified corn. According to news reports, Mexico has agreed to push their timeline for implementation out by a year, and they've noted a commitment to continue to negotiate with the U.S. to reach a policy that is satisfactory to the USMCA. The policy proposal had been broadly panned by the United States as bad policy that would harm American farmers and the Mexican people in addition to being a direct violation of the USMCA trade agreement. More... AgWeb | Reuters |

China Ends Zero-Covid Policy: The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) recently ended its zero-covid policy, which was aimed at curbing transmission of Covid-19 through strict rules that severely limited human activities. The change is expected to lead to a rapid rise in covid cases, which could expand beyond China. However, the move is also expected to lead to greater economic activity, which may bode well for U.S. agricultural exports to China. More... WSJ | Reuters | AgWeb


Governor-elect Announces Nominees for Department of Commerce and Energy & Environment: Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on December 22nd her choices to serve as Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Energy and Environment. Hugh McDonald as her choice to serve as Secretary of Commerce and for Arkansas while Shane Khoury was her choice to serve as Secretary of Energy and Environment. These two new nominees join other recently named selections to serve as cabinet secretaries for the incoming administration, including Wes Ward, who will continue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture. More...TalkBusiness | ArkansasOnline | SHS Transition Website

Public Service Commission Issues Rule Locking In Rates for Solar Projects: The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a rule on December 27th that provides greater certainty to entities developing solar generation to the grid. The lock down of rate structure, often referred to as grandfathering, will provide certainty through 2040 for rates of solar electricity producers in Arkansas. The rule issued by the PSC still has to receive review of the General Assembly before going into effect. Earlier this month, PSC commissioner Kimberly O'Guinn announced her plans to leave the PSC early next year for a new job opportunity with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders will fill O'Guinn's post and name the Chair of the three person commission. More...ArkansasBusiness | TalkBusiness | PSC Rule

Arkansas Farmer Dustin Henson Named to United Soybean Board: Dustin Henson, a soybean farmer from Paragould, was recently appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the United Soybean Board (USB). Henson will represent Arkansas during a three-year term as a newly appointed farmer-leader on the board. The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Act and is composed of 77 members representing 31 states and Eastern and Western regions. Members must be soybean producers nominated by a qualified state soybean board. More... TalkBusiness | USDA Announcement | Arkansas Soybean Research & Promotion Board | Bean Brief

USDA Arkansas Newsletter: On December 22, Arkansas USDA offices released its December monthly newsletter providing updates for the NRCS and FSA offices in the state. Included in the newsletter were messages from the state directors and other important dates and programs underway at the USDA agencies. More... USDA Arkansas Newsletter

Tri-State Soybean Conference Set for January 6th in Dumas: The Tri-State Soybean Forum is an annual conference that rotates among three mid-south soybean production states: Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. It brings together hundreds of producers, researchers and other professionals. Topics range from soil fertility and efficient irrigation to advancements in applicator technology and pest management. Nematode and taproot decline will also be discussed. More... Announcement | Agenda

Berry Pre-Coon Supper Event Set for January 14th in Gillett: Marion and Carolyn Berry will once again host its annual pre-coon supper event at their farm shop prior to the 80th Gillett Coon Supper held in the Gillett School Gymnasium. The pre-coon supper event supports scholarships for qualifying Arkansas State University students who show an interest in public policy and public service while the Coon Supper itself raises funds for the Farmers and Businesmen's Club to support efforts such as summer programs, school programs, an educational endowment fund, athletic and scholastic awards, and community service. More...Event Information | Registration | Gillett Farmers and Businessman's Club | Coon Supper Information

Arkansas Crop Management Conference Set for January 17-19: The Arkansas Crop Management Conference is scheduled to hold its annual conference at the North Little Rock Wyndham Hotel January 17-19. The event offers information sessions for growers, crop consultants and others interested in gaining up to date knowledge and information related to crop production in Arkansas. More...Meeting Information | Registration | FarmPress

Arkansas Grown Conference Set for January 25-28: The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recently announced plans to hold its first Arkansas Grown Conference in Little Rock January 25-28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel. The four-day conference and expo will offer workshops, speakers, off-site farm tours, a vendor trade show, delicious food, and even an Arkansas wine tasting. The program is focused on supporting and developing local food systems in Arkansas and strengthening the agriculture economy in Arkansas. More...Event Information | Schedule of Events | Registration

Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting Set for January 26th: Arkansas Rice will hold its upcoming annual meeting in Stuttgart at the Grand Prairie Center from 8:00am through lunch. More...Meeting Information | Registration

ASU Agribusiness Conference Set for February 8: The 29th annual Arkansas State University Agribusiness Conference will be held in person on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, with a portion available online. The conference will focus on the global economy, agricultural policy and the next farm bill, the US macroeconomic situation, and commodity markets. The conference will end with the afternoon sessions. Guests who register to attend virtually will later receive instructions on how to participate. Event Website | Registration

National Cotton Council Annual Meeting Set for February 10-12: The National Cotton Council will hold its 2023 Annual Meeting at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel in Dallas, TX, December 10-12. The event brings cotton industry leaders from each industry segment together as an opportunity to network, gain information and insight, and develop policy to advance the industry. More... Meeting Information | Registration | Schedule of Events

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 Meeting Schedule Released: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture announced upcoming meeting dates and locations for its winter production meetings, which will begin January 10th and run through March 1. More...UADA News Release | Schedule

UofA Releases Crop Enterprise Budgets for 2023: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture recently released its 2023 crop enterprise budgets, an important tool to help farmers plan their 2023 planting decisions. The dynamic excel spreadsheet includes some changes that reflect some of the biggest economic impacters from the current year, however the program allows users to adjust numbers as they see fit. More...UADA Crop Budgets | News Release

UofA Accepting Applications for Leadership Program: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture recently announced that it is accepting applications for its leadership program known as LeadAR. The program is designed to strengthen leadership, knowledge, and networks for Arkansans who are passionate about the futures of their communities. LeadAR provides an in-depth learning experience covering important economic and social issues impacting the state. More...UADA Announcement | Application Form

UofA Variety Performance Trials: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has begun the process of releasing variety performance trials for a range of agricultural commodities. More...UofA Variety Test Homepage | Rice Performance Trial Data | Cotton Variety Testing Update


Ag Census Update: Please complete and return your census as soon as you can so you are counted. More... USDA | Online

Arkansas Economic Profile: 2022 Pocket Facts - News