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Ag Council News & Info Brief May 26

May 26, 2023


Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue as Deadline Rapidly Approaches: 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 rapidly approaching 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. Negotiators indicated that they were working in good faith around the clock and making progress on a deal to avoid a calamitous debt default scenario. More... WSJ | WashingtonPost | NYT |

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

Supreme Court of the U.S. Issues WOTUS Ruling: On Thursday, May 25th, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling on the Waters of the United States definition in relation to the Clean Water Act (CWA) that limits the role of the federal government in its regulatory reach related to water. The ruling was widely viewed as positive by the agriculture sector and other industry groups as it only permits the EPA to regulate waters with a continuous surface connection rather than any area with a nexus to a navigable waterway. The ruling will likely lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) back to the drawing board from its most recently issued rule. More...SCOTUS Ruling | Agri-Pulse | USA Today | AgWeb | SCOTUSBlog | WSJ | AgCouncilTweet

USDA RMA Seeks Input on Prevent Plant: USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) is gathering feedback on possible changes to prevented planting crop insurance coverage through a request for information through the Federal Register and in virtual and in-person listening sessions. These feedback opportunities are aimed at enabling RMA to provide better crop insurance options. Comments are due September 1, 2023. One of the in-person sessions will be held in Arkansas on August 3rd from 1pm-3pm at RMA at the University of Arkansas Rice Research Station in Stuttgart during the Rice Field Day. More...RMA Weblink for Listening Sessions | Link to Federal Register | Comment Page | June 8 1pm Webinar Link

USA Rice CEO Betsy Ward Announces Plans to Step Down: Betsy Ward, CEO of USA Rice, recently announced her plans to retire from her position with the industry trade organization where she has served in the role for 16 years. She plans to step down in the fall of this year. According to Ward, the USA Rice Board of Directors will develop a succession plan over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition and seek the best candidate for the job. More...USA Rice

House Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Conservation Programs: On Tuesday, May 23rd, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee held a subcommittee hearing to consider the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill. Witnesses included USDA Chief Conservationist Terry Crosby and Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Duchenueaux. The hearing covered a wide range of programs and priorities related to conservation and working land management programs. More below...Hearing Page | Video | AgWeb | Agri-Pulse


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

Former Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry Passes Away: Former First District Congressman Marion Berry passed away on Friday, May 19th, at age 80. The 7 term Congressman from Gillett was well known for his humor and his passion for agriculture and the people of the First District. Congressman Berry, a rice farmer and pharmacist, served in many key positions including on the House Appropriations Committee where he helped deliver important infrastructure dollars back to his district. Prior to his time in the U.S. House, Congressman Berry served as a special advisor on agriculture policy for former President Bill Clinton. After retiring from Congress in 2009 to deal with health issues, he enjoyed time back in Arkansas with family and friends. A memorial service is scheduled to be held in Gillett on June 24th at the Gillett Methodist Church with a reception to follow. More...Obituary | AP | ArkansasOnline | TalkBusiness | Member Profile Video

Ag Department Seeks Public Input on Pine Tree Discoloration and Mortality: The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division recently released a survey for members of the public to report pine tree discoloration and/or mortality, specifically in southeast Arkansas. The increase in pine tree discoloration and mortality is a concern recently observed in Arkansas and neighboring states. To date, no specific cause has been identified and several possible causes are being studied. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is cooperating with scientists with the University of Arkansas at Monticello and University of Arkansas Division of Agriculure to analyze various potential causes and to develop potential solutions. More...News Release | Survey Link | Department Page on Pine Tree Decline Issue

USDA Offers Options with Continuous CRP: USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued bulletins highlighting various options available to producers seeking to enroll acres in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP). Under Continuous CRP, producers and landowners can enroll in CRP throughout the year. Offers are automatically accepted provided the producer and land meet the eligibility requirements and the enrollment levels do not exceed the statutory cap. Farmers are encouraged to visit their FSA Service Centers to inquire about the program. More...USDA FSA Arkansas | USDA NRCS Arkansas | FSA Service Centers

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
2023 Arkansas Grown Publication
Digital Edition of Delta Farm Press


May 22 Crop Progress Report: On Monday, May 22nd, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued a Crop Progress Report for Arkansas showing 98 percent of the corn crop planted, 95 percent of the rice crop planted, and 83 percent of the soybean crop planted. Cotton was reported as 79 percent planted and peanuts at 88 percent. Winter wheat was reported as 94 percent headed. Planting weather has remained favorable and progress continues towards the finish line. More... Arkansas Report | US Report

May 24 Farm Labor Report: On Wednesday, May 24th, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued a Farm Labor Report. The report covers estimated employees hired and wage rates for those employees by region. More...US Report

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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