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Ag Council News & Info Brief May 19

May 19, 2023


Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue as Deadline Looms: Meetings between President Biden and leadership in the U.S. House and Senate continue in an effort to establish a bipartisan and bicameral solution to a looming debt ceiling deadline of June 1 when the Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen indicates that the U.S. may no longer be able to meet its debt obligations. President Biden left Wednesday for a G-7 meeting in Japan, but staff representing all parties of the negotiators continue to meet with hopes of reaching an agreement by the end of the weekend. More...ArkansasOnline | WashingtonPost | NationalJournal

USDA Rice Assistance on the Way: USDA recently announced their plans to implement a new, one-time $250 million rice farmer assistance program for the 2022 growing season known as the Rice Production Program to help rice farmers offset recent spikes to input costs that have caused financial hardship. The program will be run through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which has mailed out pre-filled forms for participants who must return forms by July 10th. Payments are expected to provide a minimum support level of 1 cent per pound with a reduced payment for prevent plant acres. More...USDA Announcement | Boozman Statement | Rice Production Program Homepage | FSA-174 Form for Rice Production Program

House Ag Committee Aims to Address Workforce Challenges for Industry: The U.S. House Agriculture Committee, led by Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), announced plans to establish a bipartisan task force to explore potential solutions to a growing labor challenge facing the agriculture industry. Chairman Thompson has indicated he hoped the working group could develop a set of policy recommendations that could be developed into legislation that would provide positive reforms and initiatives to relieve labor challenges facing agriculture employers. More...Agri-Pulse

House Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Animal Agriculture: On May 17th, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee held a subcommittee hearing to consider policies relating to animal agriculture. Much of the hearing related to the farm bill and policy priorities for each animal segment of the agriculture industry. More...Committee Hearing | Video

House Appropriations Committee Proposes Cuts to USDA & Limits on CCC Funds: In a draft fiscal year 2024 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriation bill, House Republicans are proposing to enact entitlement reforms for nutrition programs, reductions in USDA spending from the Inflation Reduction Act, and limitations on use of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds by the Secretary of Agriculture. The committee advanced the bill on May 18th. The 2024 fiscal year begins October 1. More...Agri-Pulse | Agri-Pulse II | Draft Bill | House Appropriations Committee Markup of Bill

Senate Ag Committee Advances Biden Nominee Torres Small for Deputy Secretary: On Thursday, May 17th, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing and business meeting to consider the nomination of Mrs. Xochitl Torres Small to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for the USDA. The Committee voted to refer Mrs. Torres Small to the full Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, Torres Small, who currently serves as the undersecretary of rural development at USDA, would be second in command at the department under Secretary Tom Vilsack. Torres Small recently toured Arkansas following tornados that hit Wynne and Little Rock. More...Hearing | Boozman/Stabenow Joint Statement | RollCall

CBO Issues Updated Baseline for Farm Bill Budget: On Friday, May 12th, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued updates on expected 10 year outlays for farm program spending. The latest estimates assume existing programs continue without changes. The report serves as an indicator of program spending available to Congress as crafting of the next farm bill. More...Agri-Pulse | American Farm Bureau Post | CBO May 2023 Budget Estimates | CBO Mandatory Farm Programs

Former Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm Dead at 84: Former Congressman Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) passed away Wednesday at the age of 84. Stenholm, who served in the House for 13 terms from 1979 through 2005, was a longtime agriculture policy leader who helped shape many past farm bills. He was a strong advocate and supporter of production agriculture, and he was a cotton farmer himself. More...FarmProgress | Agri-Pulse | BrownfieldAgNews

Agri-Pulse Hosts Webinar on Farm Bill with Senate Committee Experts: On Monday, May 15th, Agri-Pulse hosted a webinar focused on farm bill budget matters with individuals with experience in serving on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. John Newton, the chief republican economist of the Agriculture Committee and Jacqlyn Schneider, a former top democrative aide to Senate Agriculture Committee, both joined moderator Phil Brasher. More...Agri-Pulse Webinar Video


Members Encouraged to Apply for Service on State Boards and Commissions: During the 94th General Assembly in 2023, several laws changed related to state boards and commissions, including agriculture related boards and commissions. Most of the law changes related to the appointment processes and administrative duties of the boards and commissions. These changes were enacted in an effort to address recent court rulings and orders related to the constitutionality of the structure of the boards and commissions. With the new laws, qualified individuals are now required to apply for the positions through a web based portal administered by the Office of the Governor who is tasked with making appointments along with the confirmation of the Senate. We strongly encourage Ag Council members to apply for these positions as they serve important roles for our industry, and we stand ready to help our members navigate the appointment process. More... | Application Portal | Office of Governor Homepage

Bill Bridgforth Remembered for Ag Law Work: William Cecil "Bill" Bridgforth, 82, of Pine Bluff, Ark., passed away peacefully at his home on May 11, 2023. Throughout his fifty-nine years of practicing law, Bill was a dedicated advocate of farmers throughout Arkansas and across the United States. He represented farmers and farming entities before many courts and state and national administrative bodies during his career. He frequently spoke on agricultural and regulatory matters relating to agricultural law across the country and worked with Senators and Representatives from numerous states as well as agricultural committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to ensure the country's farm programs were beneficial to agricultural producers. A memorial service for Mr. Bridgforth was held in Pine Bluff on Monday.. More...Obituary of William Cecil "Bill" Bridgforth | AGFC News Announcement

Governor Issues Egg & Beef Month Proclamations: On Thursday, May 18th, Arkansas Governor Sarah Sanders issued proclamations recognizing May as beef and egg month at a cookout celebration at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The event and proclamation was aimed at recognizing the contributions of agriculture to Arkansas's economy and to recognize all farmers and businesses who support the beef and egg industries of Arkansas. Attendees enjoyed ground beef burgers topped with fried eggs. More...ArkansasMoney&Politics

House Speaker Shepherd Announces Plan to Step Down as Speaker: Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd recently announced his plans to step down as Speaker of the House at the end of his current term as Speaker. He does plan to run for re-election to continue his service in the House during the 95th General Assembly, which would begin in 2025. More...ArkansasBusiness | ArkansasOnline

Extension Director Dr. Bob Scott to Return to Faculty: The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture recently announced that Dr. Bob Scott, director of the Cooperative Extension Service, will return to faculty, and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will initiate a nationwide search to replace him. According to a news release on the announcement, Dr. Scott will remain in the position until a new hire is made. More...UADA News Release

UofA Signs Agreement for Mega Solar Project: The University of Arkansas recently announced that it had signed an agreement to move forward with its planned 74 megawatts solar array project, which is estimated to be the second largest of such projects by a U.S. public university. The project will include an investment of over $100 million across 24 solar arrays across the state. The project is estimated to save nearly $150 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. More...TalkBusiness | ArkansasAdvocate |

Ag Department & Boll Weevil Foundation Partner on New Pest Initiative: The Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation recently announced a new partnership to expand efforts to provide defenses against additional threatening invasive pests. In the new partnership, the boll weevil foundation will conduct new, additional pest surveys across the state’s 32 cotton-producing counties to help survey for the presence of pest populations that if detected could be detrimental to cotton production if left untreated. Pests to be monitored under this program include Old World bollworms, cotton cutworms, false codling moths, and cottonseed bugs. The program is made possible through a grant awarded to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey (CAPS) program by the United States Department of Agriculture. The CAPS program conducts science-based surveys targeted at specific exotic and introduced plant pests identified as threats to U.S. agriculture or the environment. More...BWEF Announcement | KAIT8

UADA Part of USDA Grant to Develop Fertilizer Utilization Tool: The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture announced that it was cooperating in a $1.6 million partnership grant through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop its ongoing Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool, or “FRST,” as an interface website. The grant funding was part of a larger pool of over 30 new projects funded through a total of $40 million under the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program. More...UADA News Release | USDA Announcement | Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool | CIG Program | TalkBusiness

USDA Seeks Nominees for Cotton Board: USDA Ag Marketing Service (AMS) announced that it is seeking nominees to the Cotton Board for the following: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and Importers. Certified producer organizations (CPOs), including the Ag Council of Arkansas, and certified importer organizations (CIOs) will hold caucuses to nominate two qualified persons for each open position in their respective industry segment. Arkansas's caucus date is Wednesday, July 12. Individuals wishing to serve on the cotton board should contact More...Cotton Board Announcement | USDA AMS

MidSouth Ag Law Seminar Set for June 8-9: The Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, set forth by the National Ag Law Center (NALC) based at the University of Arkansas, will take place in Memphis June 8-9 marking its 10th year. The conference, which focuses on issues relevant to the Mid-South, will include sessions on solar leasing, the 2023 Farm Bill, farm succession and healthcare planning. All net proceeds from registrations and sponsorships will go towards the newly created NALC Scott Fancher Ag Law Scholarship. More...MidSouth Ag Law Seminar Information | Agenda & Registration | Scott Fancher Ag Law Scholarship

Delta Classic Golf Tournament Scheduled for July 20: The Delta Classic Golf Classic, a four person scramble format event held a The Ridges at Village Creek, is scheduled for July 20th. The event serves as an important fundraiser to support students in the University of Arkansas's Department of Crop, Soil, & Environmental Sciences. With support from alumni and friends, CSES has awarded over $480,000 in scholarships to our deserving students. More...Tournament Information | Registration

May 31 is Deadline to Apply for Century Farm Program: The Arkansas Century Farm Program application deadline is May 31. The program recognizes Arkansas’s rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land (at least ten acres) for at least 100 years. The program is administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Qualifying farms will receive a personalized Arkansas Century Farm certificate and metal sign listing the farm name and year established. More...Century Farm Program | Application Form (printable version)

Farmers Reminded to Complete Ag Census: USDA NASS is still accepting response information for its ag census through the end of May. Farmers are strongly encouraged to reply if they've not done so to date. Farmers should complete their ag census either online or by mail as soon as possible. The online questionnaire is accessible on desktop, laptop, and other mobile devices.

Additional Arkansas Ag Resources:
Ag Council Leadership Opportunities
Apply for Service on State Boards & Commissions
USDA NRCS Arkansas Offices
UADA Crop Budgets
Arkansas Row Crop Risk Management
UofA Variety Test Homepage
Rice Performance Trial Data
Cotton Variety Testing Update
2023 Arkansas Grown Publication
Digital Edition of Delta Farm Press


May 15 Crop Progress Report: On Monday, May 8th, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued a Crop Progress Report for Arkansas showing 95 percent of the corn crop planted, 89 percent of the rice crop planted, and 71 percent of the soybean crop planted. Cotton was reported as 56 percent planted and peanuts at 59 percent. Winter wheat was reported as 90 percent headed. Planting weather has remained favorable and progress continues towards the finish line. More... Arkansas Report | US Report

May 12 WASDE Report: On Friday, May 12th, USDA issued an updated World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) Report. The report provides the latest worldwide supply and demand estimates for most major agriculture commodities. More...WASDE Report | Secretary Brief | USDA Visualization | AgWeb

DTN Market Insights: Commodity Market Info

Arkansas Economic Profile: 2022 Pocket Facts - News | USDA Arkansas Ag Economic Overview | Arkansas Ag Census Data | Arkansas Historical Data | Arkansas Farms & Land Report | Arkansas Land Values & Cash Rent Report
Arkansas Farm Labor Report

UofA Crop Updates | UofA Land Grant Research & Extension Service Video

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