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June 21 News & Info Brief

June 21, 2023


House and Senate Move in Different Directions on Fiscal Year 2024 Ag Spending Bill: The House and Senate are on course to develop very different spending bills for the upcoming 2024 fiscal year, which begins October 1. The House, under Republican leadership, is pursuing reductions in annual spending while the Senate, under Democratic leadership, is expected to seek funding levels more in line with expenditures from recent years. The deviation between the two bodies is likely to set up for difficult negotiations as the end of the current fiscal year approaches. More...Agri-Pulse | Agri-Pulse II | | House Appropriations Committee Markup | House Appropriations News Release | Senate Appropriations Full Committee Markup

Farm Bill Dynamics Shift After Debt Ceiling Compromise: Following the recent budget deal negotiated to allow for the increase in the debt ceiling, the dynamics for farm bill funding levels have changed. It's now more likely that funding levels will be held to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) budget baseline estimates, and movement of funds from within farm bill programs is likely to prove very difficult. Efforts to increase program funding levels in the new farm bill are expected to face significant headwinds due to the budgetary constraints now in place. More...Agri-Pulse | AgWeb | AgWeb II | FarmDocDaily | Politico

USDA Funds Available to Farmers for Migratory Bird Habitat Investments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it is now accepting applications from agricultural producers for enrollment in a special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) sign-up. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing nearly $15 million to support agricultural producers, through the EQIP - Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative (MBRI), helping to protect and improve natural resources and habitat for migratory birds and other avian species in the Prairie Pothole Region and targeted areas of the Pacific, Mississippi, and Central Flyways. NRCS in Arkansas will provide up to $4 million in financial assistance in fiscal year 2023 for MBRI. Applications for funding are due by July 15. More...USDA Announcement

USDA Issues State Newsletter Covering FSA & NRCS: USDA issued its June newsletter for Arkansas providing program updates from both the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arkansas. Included in the newsletter are updates from the State Conservationist Mike Sullivan and State Director for FSA Doris Washington. The newsletter also includes announcements for upcoming events and workshops as well as sign up programs and dates. More...June Newsletter

USDA Expands Margin Protection Insurance Options for Arkansas Farmers: USDA recently announced expansion of Margin Protection insurance policies to Arkansas farmers to help mitigate risk related an unexpected decrease in farm operating margins (revenue less input costs). Margin Protection is area-based, using county-level estimates of average revenue and input costs to establish the amount of coverage and indemnity payments. Arkansas farmers can now consider policies on Margin Protection for rice, soybeans and corn. More...Margin Protection Information Page | Margin Protection Estimator

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

USTR Talks About Leveraging U.S. Marketplace in Trade Policy: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai recently spoke to a recent shift in trade policy that aims to leverage the U.S. marketplace in international trade development strategies to influence foreign countries on issues relating to the environment, labor, and other standards of priority to the U.S. Tai indicated that such a shift should be made from previous efforts aimed strictly at increasing export market opportunities, however that stance was met with resistance from U.S. export interests seeking greater market access and fair trade. More...Agri-Pulse | C-SPAN |

U.S. Leans In on Challenge to Mexico on Arbitrary Corn Import Barriers: Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to address certain Mexican measures concerning imports of certin products of agricultural biotechnology, notably corn. Earlier this year, the United States held technical consultations with Mexico under USMCA Chapter 9, but the technical consultations failed to resolve the matter. Article 9.19 of the USMCA provides that a Party may cease technical consultations and have recourse to dispute settlement under Chapter 31 following the technical consultations meeting. More below...USTR Announcement | USTR Consultations Request | BIO | DTNPF


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

Farm Bureau Names Jarrod Yates as Executive Vice President: On Tuesday, June 20th, Arkansas Farm Bureau announced that Jarrod Yates would serve as the next Executive Vice President for the organization. Yates most recently served as director of public affairs and government relations for ArFB, where he led the national affairs efforts. More...ARFB News Release

Ag Council Featured in Farm Press Article on Legislative Session: The Ag Council was featured in a recent article published by FarmPress that focused on outcomes of the 2023 legislative session. The article summarized portions of the Ag Council's most recent Board of Directors meeting held in Marianna in May. At the May meeting Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward spoke of law changes made by the legislature that impact the Department of Agriculture and the row crop industry, including changes to the State Plant Board, commodity research and promotion board, and other boards and commissions at the Department. More...FarmPress

Ag Council to Hold Next Board Meeting in Stuttgart August 21: The Ag Council Board of Directors will hold its next meeting in Stuttgart at the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center. The meeting will begin at 9:00 and conclude with lunch. Additional information, including the agenda, will be made available soon. More...Meeting Announcement

Governor Sanders Hires New State Forester: On Tuesday, June 20th, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture announced that Governor Sarah Sanders had named Kyle Cunningham to serve as state forester, where he'll lead the Forestry Dvision of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Cunningham, who brings decades of experience in forestry matters, will replace Joe Fox who is retiring at the end of June following a lengthy career in forestry, including over 10 years as state forester. More...ArkansasOnline | Agriculture Department Announcement

UADA Cuts Ribbon on Jackson County Corn and Sorghum Building: This month, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Jackson County Research Center where they recently completed a construction project on a new building sponsored by the Arkansas Corn & Grain Sorghum Research and Promotion Board and others to help support ongoing research on the UADA research farm at the location. More...UADA Release

UADA Announces Search for Cooperative Extension Service Director: This month, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA) announced its search plan for a new director of cooperative extension services. Dr. Fields, Vice President of Agriculture for the University of Arkansas, announced the formation of a search committee that will help manage the process of filling the senior associate vice president for extension position. The position holds responsibility for responsible for operations, management, programs, stakeholder relations and services involving about 600 appointed full-time and 200 part-time personnel with an annual budget of $61 million. Dr. Bob Scott, who currently holds the position, recently announced his plans to return to faculty at the University, however he's expected to continue serving in the position until a search and hire is complete. More...UADA Release | Position Description | Application Link

Arkansas Rice to Celebrate Research History at Field Day in Stuttgart: The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is celebrating the 25th year of the Dale Bumpers Rice Research Center as part of the upcoming Arkansas Rice Field Day Events to be held August 2nd and 3rd in Stuttgart in partnership with the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture. The Bumpers Rice Research Center will host an open house and reception on the afternoon of the 2nd and cooperate with the University on field tours the morning of August 3rd. The University research center is next door to the USDA research center. The events are open to the public. More...Information Page | RSVP Form

Anheuser Busch Hosting 2nd Annual Discovery Farm Showcase on June 22: On Thursday, June 22, Anheuser Busch, in cooperation with the University of Arkansas is hosting the 2nd Annual Discovery Farm Showcase to be held in Jonesboro at the Busch Agricultural Research facility starting at 10:00 a.m. The event includes field tours of area rice farms with presentations on sustainable farming practices and a reception to follow that will include food, fun and the Budweiser Clydesdales. Anheuser Busch is a significant buyer of Arkansas grown rice, which they incorporate into a variety of beers and other products. RSVPs are requested to Bill Jones at (918) 919-2776 or More...Event Flyer

Corps Accepting Public Comments on Arkansas River Channel Through July 8: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comments through July 8th on the proposed plan to deepen the channel depth of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) through July 8th. The ongoing study proposes to provide a minimum 12' channel depth for vessel drafting from the current 9' channel minimum. The river is used for the movement of several commodities, including multiple agricultural related commodities. The Ag Council has long supported the improved navigation channel. More...ArkansasOnline | Comment Page |

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

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
Pine Tree Discoloration & Mortality Reporting
Feral Hog Task Force
2023 Arkansas Grown Publication
Digital Edition of Delta Farm Press


USDA Seeks Acreage Reporting by July 17: USDA reminds agricultural producers who have not yet completed their after planting should make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office before the applicable deadline, which for many places and crops is July 17. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) also reminds producers with login access to of several features that can help expedite acreage reporting, such as the ability to view, print and label maps. More...USDA Release | Crop Acreage Reporting Info | Video on New Online Reporting |

June 20 Crop Progress Report: On Tuesday, June 20th, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued a Crop Progress Report for Arkansas showing 95 percent of the corn crop to be in fair to excellent condition, 95 percent of the cotton crop to be in fair to excellent condition, 94 percent of soybeans to be in fair to excellent condition, 99 percent of rice to be in fair to excellent condition, and 97 percent of peanuts to be in fair to excellent condition. Growing conditions continue to be favorable for most of the state. More... Arkansas Report | US Report

June 10 WASDE 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...WASDE | Secretary Briefing | WASDE Visualization | Video

June 16 UofA Arkansas Rice Update: 6.16.23 Rice Update

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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