On Wednesday, May 10th, the board of directors for the Ag Council of Arkansas held a spring meeting in Marianna at the University of Arkansas Lon Mann Cotton Research Station. Members shared the latest planting experiences for the 2023 crop year and heard from a variety of speakers who covered important policy matters for Ag Council members. They also received a brief overview of legislation considered and approved by the 94th General Assembly, which recently adjourned a legislative session.
Legislative Overview Document
Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward provided attendees with an update on department initiatives, including efforts to implement newly passed laws by the General Assembly. Such legislation includes measures to streamline and consolidate agencies within the department and measures to shift the administration of commodity research and promotion boards to the department. Secretary Ward addressed a handful of additional legislative measures and agency initiatives that the department is implementing.
Fitzhugh Elder, the Republican staff director for the Senate Agriculture Committee under the leadership of John Boozman (R-AR), provided an update on the development of the farm bill, which is due for a reauthorization following the 2023 crop year. Mr. Elder thanked Ag Council members who've participated in hearings and shared common priorities for the legislation. He reiterated Vice Chairman Boozman's commitment to improve the commodity title to better reflect current market conditions and ensure a viable safety net to help farmers mitigate risks.
Dr. Hunter Biram, an agriculture economist with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, provided a broad economic overview of the row crop agriculture industry. Biram provided an overview of commodity market conditions and macro economic factors impacting the industry. He also provided analysis of various crop insurance policies and how they relate to each commodity in the current economy.
The meeting adjourned with lunch sponsored by Simmons Bank.