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February 9 News and Info Brief

FEBRUARY 9, 2024


Federal Judge Orders EPA to Vacate Registrations of OTT Dicamba Chemistries: On Tuesday, February 6th, a federal district judge in Arizona issued a judgement ordering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to vacate the registration of the three previously approved reduced volatility formulations of dicamba designed for over the top (OTT) use in dicamba tolerant soybeans and cotton. According to the order, XtendiMax, Engenia, and Tavium no longer maintain their federally registered uses leaving farmers with no dicamba chemistries approved for such use. It's not clear what actions the defendants (EPA and manufacturers of the products) may take going forward to counter the order or manage the challenges facing farmers in the 2024 crop year. It's also not clear what actions they may take in seeking to re-register the products. More...Court Order | AgWeb | DTNPF | Agri-Pulse | WSJ | Reuters | BASF Statement | Bayer Statement | Syngenta Tavium | NCC Statement | ASA Statement | Ag Retailers Association | Ag Council Letter to EPA Administrator | ArkansasOnline

EPA Announces Shift in ESA Workplan to Address Concerns Raised: On Wednesday, February 7th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to adjust its Endangered Species Act (ESA) workplan, which includes a set of draft regulatory plans related to pesticide uses by farmers. The planned adjustments announced are in response to comments received from farmers, industry interest organizations, state departments of agriculture, and input from USDA. According to the announcement, EPA plans to provide better maps for species and habitat and allow for existing conservation practices through USDA-NRCS to qualify as mitigation activities. In addition, they plan to provide an online digitized mitigation menu for compliance and develop a new ESA offset programs for farmers to utilize for compliance. More...EPA Announcement | Agri-Pulse | Register for NALC Webinar on 2/21

Bipartisan, Bicameral Tax Bill Passes House: A bipartisan, bicameral congressional agreement on tax policy received broad support in the U.S. house where it passed with an overwhelming vote of 357-70. While the agreement has support in the Senate, it is expected to face efforts to further amend the legislation and other challenges to getting necessary votes for Senate passage. Included in the package are important tax policies related to agriculture, including bonus depreciation and enhancements to Section 179 deductions for farm machinery and equipment. More...TheHill | Politico | WSJ | House Ways & Means | Legislation: H.R. 7024

Members Draw Lines on Farm Bill Policy: Agriculture policy leaders continue to draw lines around their policy wishes related to the development and constructs of the next farm bill. The lines being drawn differ in the House and Senate and among democrats and republicans. These conflicting viewpoints appear to further complicate chances of advancing a farm bill this year. The legislative calendar, a competitive and potentially pivotal election, and competiting legislative prioirities, including fiscal year appropriations, all make the climate for advancing and passing a farm bill this year difficult. More...Agri-Pulse | Stabenow Letter | DTNPF | Scott Memo | RollCall | Agri-Pulse II | Agri-Pulse III |

Appropriations Deadline Quickly Approaching: March 1 and March 8 federal government funding deadlines are rapidly approaching with no resolution yet in sight. As each day passes, Congress appears more at risk of facing a federal government shutdown. If the House and Senate fail to reach an accord on spending measures, various functions of government will be thrown in disarray until such an agreement is reached. With challenges passing bipartisan border security legislation, bipartisan tax measures, and bipartisan funding for Ukraine and Israel, it's evident that the level of dysfunction is growing. And, with mounting campaign pressures, the task of reaching agreements and passing legislation is growing more difficult in a congress divided with razor thin majorities in both the House and Senate. More...RollCall | TheHill | WashingtonPost | Politico |

Senate Members Call for Freeze on H-2A Wage Rates: Ten U.S. Senators joined in submitting a letter to congressional appropriators asking the committee to freeze H-2A wage rates at January 2023 levels. Wage rates announced by the Department of Labor for 2024 show a 6% hike from 2023 levels for employers in Arkansas. A similar letter in the House included seventy-five members of the U.S. House of Representatives was submitted last month. More...Letter | DOL H-2A AEWR

House Ways and Means Chair Calls for Rice Competition Investigation: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) issued a request of a U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to investigate competition in the rice industry. In a letter Chairman Smith called on the USITC to produce a report pursuant to Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to follow a previous report produced by the agency in 2015 with an objective investigation into the subsidies that other producing and exporting countries provide to their domestic rice producers causing distortions to markets and harming export opportunities for U.S. rice producers. More...Ways and Means Press Release | Letter

Final ERP Phase 1 Payments Heading to Farmers: The USDA announced this week that it is issuing final Emergency Relief Program (ERP) payments totaling approximately $306 million to eligible commodity and specialty crop producers who incurred losses due to natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin issuing these additional payments to eligible producers this week. Recipients of the additional payment are limited to those producers who received ERP Phase One payments from FSA that were calculated based on crop insurance indemnities. More...USDA Release | AgWeb

Former USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey Passes: On Monday, February 5, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation, Bill Northey, passed away at age 64. Northey, an Iowa native, was serving as CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI). He leaves behind his wife Cindy and three daughters. Northey, a farmer himself, was well known for his passion for U.S. farmers and his work in delivering supplemental aid to farmers impacted by trade disputes and natural disasters, and his efforts to improve and promote USDA conservation programs. More...DTNPF | Obituary

EPA Sets Higher Air Quality Standard Related to Particulate Matter: On Wednesday, February 7th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized significantly stronger air quality standards related to particulate matter by raising the national ambient air quality standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from a level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter. This change could impact aspects of U.S. agriculture and food production. More...EPA Statement | EPA Statement II | EPA Final Action Info Page | EPA Slidedeck


Farmers Encouraged to Consider ACT NOW Application for EQIP Conservation Funding: The USDA NRCS state office in Arkansas is encouraging Arkansas producers to consider signing up for environmental quality incentive program (EQIP) funding through a new portal known as "ACT NOW," which is aimed at expediting awards and addressing backlogs of applicants. The ACT NOW portal allows Arkansas NRCS to immediately approve and obligate ranked applications in a designated ranking pool when an eligible application meets or exceeds the state-determined minimum ranking score. ACT NOW will utilize minimum ranking score thresholds for each ranking pool. This means no longer having to wait for all applications to be reviewed and preapproved in a ranking pool. More...USDA NRCS Announcement

MidSouth Farm and Gin Show on Horizon: Memphis will once again host the MidSouth Farm and Gin Show this year March 1-2. The event will be kick started on February 29th with the Southern Cotton Ginners Association Annual Meeting and Honors Banquet. The show offers highly informative presentations, seemingly endless exhibits, and excellent networking opportunities. The event draws thousands of attendees from throughout the Mid-South region and beyond. More...Show Homepage | Registration | SCGA Annual Meeting

Simmons Bank to Host AgriSummit : Simmons Bank plans to hold its annual agrisummit at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock February 22nd from 10am until 3pm. The program is open to its farmer customers and other invited guests. The event will feature a speakers covering a range of issues facing Arkansas farmers, and a complimentary lunch is included for attendees. More... Event Registration

Arkansas Revenues Shift Downward but Largely Follow Projections: According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), the state revenues for the first seven months of the 2023-2024 fiscal year are down 1.8% from the same period in 2022. However, the $4,860 billion collected in the first seven months (July-December) was 6.3% above previous fiscal year forecasts and still provide surplus funds for the state. The biggest declines in revenue are seen in individual and corporate income tax collections, which are a result of recent income tax cuts adopted by the general assembly. DFA estimates an annual surplus of of $245 million at the end of the fiscal year. More... DFA Revenue Report | DFA Revenue Forecast | TalkBusiness | ArkansasOnline

Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame Soon to Induct New Class: The Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame will induct 6 new names at its annual luncheon ceremony March 1. Inductees include the late Dr. George Berger; Dr. Fred Bourland; Dr. Mark Cochran; the late Melvin Daniel; Dr. Charles Looney; and Gary Sitzer. The Arkansas Ag Hall of Fam aims to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arkansas agriculture, as well as community and economic development. Please contact if interested in sitting at the Ag Council table. More...Announcement | Induction Luncheon Information

UofA Division of Ag Weed Scientists Receive Recognition: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture announced that four faculty from the Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, were recently honored by their colleagues through the Weed Science Society of America. More...UADA Announcement

UofA Division of Ag Seeks Input for Strategic Plan: The University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture conducts important and valuable research and extension for Arkansans through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service. This year they are working to shape a new five-year strategic plan. As they embark on that process they invite the public to share thoughts regarding important issues and trends the Division of Agriculture should address over the next five to six years through our research and extension program. More...UADA Announcement | Survey Link

UofA Division of Ag Hosting Winter Production Meetings: The University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture continues to hold its Winter Production Meetings throughout Arkansas. The meetings provide an opportunity for producers and consultants to interface with researchers to share the latest information on various commodities grown in Arkansas. More..UADA Announcement

Enrollment Open for Cotton Sustainability Programs: The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol (USCTP), the U.S. cotton industry's sustainability initiative is currently accepting enrollment of cotton producers for the 2024 crop year and bales from the 2023 crop. Included in this year's application process is the opportunity to participate in the Climate Smart Cotton Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to farmers for participating in an advanced level of the protocol. Key deadlines include a March 1 deadline to enter data and upload bales from the 2023 crop and an April 30th deadline to enroll in the Trust Protocol and apply for the Climate Smart Program. More...Cotton Grower Magazine | Farm Progress | AgWired | USCTP Enrollment Link

Save the Date! Ag Council Sets Dates for 2024 Board of Director Meetings: The Ag Council of Arkansas has set dates for its upcoming board of directors meetings this year. The meetings are open to Ag Council board of directors and invited guests. Other Ag Council members and sponsors are welcome to attend general sessions of these meetings provided they notify staff of their plans to attend in advance of the meetings. Spring Meeting: Tuesday, May 14 at the Lon Mann Cotton Research Station in Marianna; Summer Meeting: Thursday, August 15 at the Northeast Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center in Greenfield; Annual Meeting: Thursday and Friday, December 12-13 at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock

Farmers Encouraged to Use FireSmart App for Crop Residue Burns: Arkansas farmers are encouraged to download and utilize the new FireSmart App to help farmers comply with voluntary smoke management guidelines prior to conducting crop residue field burning following harvest. The smart phone application is aimed at helping farmers check conditions and report prescribed burns to ensure minimal impact when conducting this important practice. More...FireSmartApp | Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines

Members Encouraged to Apply for Service on State Boards and Commissions: We strongly encourage Ag Council members to apply for public service on various agriculture related state boards and commissions which serve important roles for our industry. We stand ready to help our members navigate the application and appointment process. More... | Application Portal | Office of Governor Homepage

Additional Arkansas Ag Resources:
USDA Daily Arkansas Grain Bids
Arkansas Department of Ag Calendar
Ag Council Leadership Opportunities
Apply for Service on State Boards & Commissions
USDA NRCS Arkansas Offices
USDA County Cash Rent Estimates
Arkansas Crops Update
UADA Crop Budgets
UADA Verification Information
Arkansas Row Crop Risk Management
Pine Tree Discoloration & Mortality Reporting
Feral Hog Task Force
2023 Arkansas Grown Publication
Digital Edition of Delta Farm Press
H-2A Guidebook by Congressman Crawford
NCC Annual Meeting Feb. 15-18 | Support NCC PAC - Contribute to CAC | Night of Cotton Tickets | Silent Auction
MidSouth Farm & Gin Show March 1-2


Farm Income Expected to Plunge in 2024: Net farm income, a broad measure of profits for farms, is forecast at $116.1 billion in calendar year 2024, a decrease of $39.8 billion (25.5 percent) relative to 2023 in nominal (not adjusted for inflation) dollars. This follows a forecast decrease of $29.7 billion (16.0 percent) from 2022 to $155.9 billion in 2023. In addition to commodity price declines, also contributing to lower forecast net income is lower direct Government payments and higher production expenses. Direct Government payments are forecast to fall by $1.9 billion (15.9 percent) largely because of lower supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance in 2024 relative to 2023. Total production expenses are forecast to increase by $16.7 billion (3.8 percent) to $455.1 billion in 2024. More...DTNPF | AgWeb | Agri-Pulse | USDA ERS Farm Sector Income Report | USDA Statement | Agri-Pulse II

USDA FEB 8 WASDE: On February 8th, the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) issued an updated World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report. The report provides the latest supply and demand estimates for primary agriculture commodities. More...February WASDE | Secretary Briefing | Agri-Pulse | DTNPF | February 8 U.S. Crop Production Report

CaseIH Introduces New Combine: This month, CaseIH introduced its largest combine harvester known as the AF11. The machine contains a 775-hp engine, a 567-bushel grain tank, and a 396-gallon fuel tank. It's also outfitted with automation systems and additional technology features and new capabilities. More...AgWeb | DTNPF | CaseIH | CaseIH News Release

DTN Market Insights: Commodity Market Info

USDA February Processing Reports:
- Cotton System
- Fats & Oils
- Flour Milling
- Grain Crushings
- Cotton Ginnings
- Peanut Prices

Arkansas Economic Profile: 2023 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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