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March 8 Ag News and Info Brief

March 8, 2024


Congress Agrees on Spending Plan to Avoid Shutdown: This week Congress will approve a compromise agreement on spending levels for certain parts of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. This agreement will avert a concerned shutdown for those government agencies, which include USDA. A separate spending plan will need to be reached on the other government agencies that are currently scheduled to receive funding through March 22. If Congress approves a similar compromise agreement on the second batch of spending measures, it's expected to free Congress to begin work on fiscal year 2025 spending and other legislative items, such as the farm bill. However, the narrow split majorities in the House and Senate along with the upcoming presidential election will continue to provide challenges in passing any legislation for the remainder of time leading up to November. More...ArkansasOnline | RollCall | WashingtonPost | Politico

Super Tuesday Election Sets Stage for November: On March 5, voters in several states across the country, including Arkansas, took part in a primary election that set the stage for the November elections. With the results, it appears that the presidential election will be a rematch of the 2020 election with a Biden vs. Trump matchup. In Arkansas, there were several contested primary races for legislative races paired with some statewide judicial races, including positions on the state supreme court. The election cleared the fields for November matchups in some cases, and narrowed the fields for runoff elections in others, including Chief Justice of Supreme Court. More...Results | ArkansasOnline | TalkBusiness

Biden Delivers State of the Union: On March 7, President Joe Biden provided a State of the Union Address to Congress. The President covered a range of policy proposals and shared his vision for the nation and its role in the world. His speech did not include a call for the farm bill, but he did mention farmers and complimented USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in citing investments made to farms and rural infrastructure. The speech marked an opening salvo towards what is shaping up to be a rematch of the 2020 election between Biden and Trump. More...White House Video | Republican Rebuttal | DTNPF | Agri-Pulse

SEC Pulls Back on Climate Disclosure Rule: On March 6, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had finalized its rules to require large corporations to disclose information relating to their carbon footprint. The requirement excluded previous plans to mandate and track greenhouse gas emissions in company supply chains, including to the farm level. The final rule was approved with a 3-2 vote. More... Agri-Pulse | SEC Rule | SEC Announcement | WSJ | ArkansasBusiness

Secretary Vilsack Discusses Ag Policy with Senate Ag Committee: On February 28, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee regarding a range of agricutural topics, including the farm bill and USDA activities. The meeting follows a similar meeting held in the House Agriculture Committee earlier in the month. More...Hearing Video | Stabenow Opening Remarks | Boozman Opening Remarks | ArkansasOnline

CFTC Chairman Addresses Policy with House Ag Committee: On March 7, the Honorable Rostin Behnam, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) participated in a House Agriculture Committee hearing addressing a range of policy issues related to the regulation and oversight of various commodity futures markets. The committee discussed plans to reauthorize the the CFTC, strategies to regulate digital assets and currencies, and efforts to develop voluntary greenhouse gas markets to benefit farmers. More...House Hearing | CFTC Release | Chairman Thompson's Opening Statement

Crawford Goes Public with Effort to Seek Lead Post of T&I Committee: On March 6, Arkansas First District Congressman Rick Crawford announced plans to seek out the top republican leadership post of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. If successful, Congressman Crawford would serve as Chairman or Vice-Chairman depending on which party holds the majority in the House. More...Crawford Announcement | ArkansasOnline | RollCall | TalkBusiness

McConnell Announces Plans to Step-down as Republican Senate Leader: The republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), made recent headlines following his announcements to step-down from his leadership role and endorse Donald Trump in his campaign for president of the United States. McConnell, age 82, has served in the Senate for 40 years and is the longest serving republican leader in history. Following his announcement, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) revealed his intentions to pursue a leadership post as republican conference chair. More..ArkansasOnline | TheHill | ArkansasOnline II |

Fed Chairman Powell Addresses House and Senate: This week, federal reserve bank chairman Jay Powell testified before House and Senate committees regarding the economy and related fed policy. During the testimony, chairman Powell outlined the Fed's plan to control inflation. Powell indicated that the Fed was seeing positive results from recent actions, and he expressed belief that modest rate cuts could come later this year. More...House Committee Hearing | Senate Committee Hearing | WSJ | AP | TheHill

House Agriculture Committee Finalizes H-2A Advisory Group Report: On March 7, the bipartisan policy working group established by the House Agriculture Committee and led by Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR) released its final report providing policy recommendations related to H-2A labor. The report outlined a policy plan that included 15 specific policy recommendations for Congress to implement in order to improve the program for agricultural employers. The Ag Council took part in listening sessions with Representative Crawford during the fall of 2023. More...House Ag Announcement | House Ag Labor Working Group | Report | Agri-Pulse

EPA Establishes Ag Office: On March 1, at the Commodity Classic, the EPA and USDA announced the establishment of a new office to expand engagement opportunities with agricultural and rural communities. According to EPA, the new Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is aimed at improving environmental stewardship and economic opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers, as well as strengthening the vitality of small towns and rural communities.The Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will serve as a contact point for farmers and ranchers, key constituents who deal with high-profile environmental rules. More...EENews | EPA Announcement

WTO Concludes Ministerial in Abu Dhabi (UAE): The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its 13th Ministerial Conference at the end of February in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emerits. Ministers from across the world attended to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO. As usual, agriculture trade and agriculture related policies were an area of focus for the meeting. More...WTO Ministerial Page | WTO - Agriculture | Business Standard | USTR Statement Post Conference

ARC/PLC Election Deadline Looms: March 15 is the final day for farmers to make elections with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for the primary commodity title farm programs known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Under the 2018 farm bill, farmers and landowners can choose between three commodity title alternatives: ARC-CO (payment based on county revenue), ARC-IC (payment based on individual farm revenue), and PLC (payment based on market year average). More...FSA Website | ARC/PLC Fact Sheet | UADA Risk Management Center Resources


USA Rice Now Welcoming Funding Applications for Climate Smart Program: On February 29, USA Rice announced the opening of the application window for Arkansas rice producers to apply for conservation funding under the Rice Stewardship Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities project, which provides over $63 million in additional financial assistance to U.S. rice producers. This competitive process will offer rice producers a suite of over 30 practices to choose from to fit the needs and capabilities of their operation. Applications are due prior to March 22. More...USA Rice Announcement | Arkansas Funding Application

US Cotton Trust Protocol Offers New Payments with Climate Funding: 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. April 30th is the deadline to enroll in the Trust Protocol and apply for the Climate Smart Program. More...Cotton Grower Magazine | Farm Progress | AgWired | USCTP Enrollment Link

Arkansas Farmers to Have Options for Conservation Funding with New Climate Programs: Arkansas farmers will have multiple options to seek out funding incentives for conservation programs deemed to be "climate smart" through grants issued from USDA to various agriculture organizations and enterprises. The grants were part of a Climate Smart Commodity Program established by USDA with use of funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation. Practices such as alternate wetting and drying and furrow irrigation in rice will provide payment opportunities as well as no-till and cover crops for other commodities. Additional practices are also eligible. For cotton farmers, enrolling acres in the industry's U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol program also offers payment opportunities. Some application windows have already opened while others are expected in coming days and weeks, but they are not expected to be open long. More...Climate Smart Cotton | Climate Smart Rice | Winrock/Riceland Foods Program | AgriCapture | Rice-Tec SmartRice | Alliance for CS Ag | More Arkansas Related CSAF Opportunities | USDA CSAF Homepage

Arkansas Revenues Maintain Surplus Levels According to Monthly Report: On March 4, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) released an updated monthly revenue report for the State of Arkansas. According to the report, while revenues are down year over year from 2023, revenues continue to exceed forecasts and project year end surpluses. Revenue decreases are largely a result of individual and corporate income taxes recently approved by the General Assembly. More...DFA Feb General Revenue Report | TalkBusiness | ArkansasBusiness | ArkansasOnline

Governor and Legislature Set State for Fiscal Session with Budget Actions: This week, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly took first steps in considering a balanced budget for the 2025 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The Governor on Wednesday submitted a letter to the committee outlining a budget proposal that included limited increases in government spending with plans to reduce the size and scope of state government while also making new investments in key priorities including teacher pay. The general assembly will soon begin work on implementing a balanced budget plan in the fiscal session. More...Governor's Letter to Joint Budget | 2025 Budget Proposal Outline | ArkansasOnline

Governor Releases Workforce Development Strategy: Last month, Governor Sanders announced the release of a statewide workforce development strategy. The outline was generated through an executive order that established a workforce cabinet comprised of a collective of cabinet secretaries and agency personnel. The strategy outlines key priority areas to address workforce concerns throughout the economy. The Ag Council of Arkansas plans to work with the Sanders Administration and other agriculture industry stakeholders to help address agriculture specific workforce needs and workforce development strategies. More...ArkansasOnline | Governor Announcement | Workforce Strategy | TalkBusiness

Governor Announces Plans to Review State's Levees: On March 1, Governor Sanders announced plans to review the status of levees across the State of Arkansas through a signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Commissioner of State Lands to conduct a statewide levee inventory. As part of the Governor’s larger review of Arkansas’ State Water Plan, this project will result in the state’s first-ever full inventory of levees and will allow the state to better prepare for flooding events and reduce flood risk to people, businesses, and critical infrastructure. The Ag Council of Arkansas plans to work with the Sanders Administration through this effort and the planned updates to the state water plan. More...Governor Announcement | ArkansasBusiness

Governor Appoints Scott Ford to UofA Board of Trustees: On March 4, Governor Sanders announced the appointment of Scott Ford to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas. Ford, a well known entrepreneur and corporate executive, will replace Morril Harriman and his term will expire on March 1, 2034. Ford is best known for his work in telecommunications with Alltel and in the creation and growth of Westrock family of companies, including the now publicly traded Westrock Coffee Company. More...Governor Announcement | ArkansasBusiness | ArkansasOnline | TalkBusiness

Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame Inducts New Class: The Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame inducted 6 new names at its annual luncheon ceremony held in Little Rock 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 Fame aims to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arkansas agriculture, as well as community and economic development. More...Ag Hall of Fame | Nomination Form

Arkansas Boll Weevil Program Announces Rebate: The Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, a subcommittee to the Arkansas State Plant Board, has authorized a $1 per acre cash rebate to growers for cotton acreage reported during the 2023 crop year. According to Regina Coleman, the executive director of the foundation, Arkansas cotton growers will receive a total payout of $485,730 in rebated funds that will be sent in April. This is the sixth year the Foundation has issued a rebate to growers since 2018. More...Announcement | ABWEF Homepage

Ag Council Members Recognized for Activities: Three Ag Council of Arkansas leaders were recently recognized for their actions and activities in agriculture. The Doyle family of Weiner were recognized at the Commodity Classic in Houston for conservation activities; the Dabbs family of Stuttgart were recognized for conservation activities during the MidSouth Farm and Gin Show in Memphis; and Jennifer James was named outstanding alumni for the University of Arkansas. We congratulate them on these deserved recognitions and continued industry leadership activities, including service to the Ag Council of Arkansas. More...Doyle's Receive Conservation Award | Dabbs Receive Conservation Award | James Named UofA Outstanding Alumni

UofA Division of Ag Accepting Applications for Future Ag Leader Program: Registration for the 2024 Arkansas Future Ag Leaders Tour is now open for college undergraduate juniors and seniors enrolled in colleges of agriculture or pursuing agriculture-related majors within the state of Arkansas. There is no cost to participate, however the class is limited to 50 students. More...UADA Announcement | Registration Link

UAPB Accepting Applications for Summer Ag Education Program for High School Students: The University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff announced that it was accepting applications through April 5th for its Ag Discovery "no-cost" summer program for high school students. The program, which runs from June 8-21 offers an immersive, hands-on learning experience into various agriculture career opportunities in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness, and plant pathology. The program is in cooperation with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). More...UAPB Announcement | Application

Plant Board Gets Policy Update from National Ag Law Center: The Arkansas State Plant Board received a policy update from the National Ag Law Center at its March 5 meeting held at the Department of Agriculture. Brigit Rollins provided the latest information pertaining to regulated use of dicamba and an overview of actions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it relates to registration of active ingredients (AI) and compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). More...ArkansasOnline | Arkansas Department of Ag News Release on Dicamba | Successful Farming on ESA Issues

National Ag Law Center Hosting Webinar on Corporate Transparency Act: The National Ag Law Center is set to host a webinar on March 20th that provides an overview to a new federal mandate for all businesses that will require new ownership disclosure information to the federal government. Failure to comply with this new law can result in severe fines. The new law was established by Congress as an effort to mitigate risks of money laundering and other corrupt business activities, including tax evasion. More...Webinar Information | Registration 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

Arkansas Department of Ag Accepting Century Farm Applications Through May 31: The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2024 Arkansas Century Farm Program. This program recognizes Arkansas families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and there is no cost to apply. More...Century Farm Homepage | News Release

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:
3.8.24 Nutrien Weather Forecast with Eric Snodgrass
USDA Daily Arkansas Grain Bids
Arkansas Department of Ag Calendar
Ag Council Leadership Opportunities
Apply for Service on State Boards & Commissions
2024 Arkansas Rural Development Conference May 21-23
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
Bayer Carbon Program (ForGround)
Indigo Carbon Program
Corteva Carbon Program
Truterra Carbon Program
Nutrien Carbon Program (FarmSmart)


USDA Issues March WASDE: On March 8, USDA issued an updated World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) Report. More...WASDE Report | Secretary's Briefing | WASDE Visualization | U.S. Crop Production Report | StoneX Webinar password: p*khM

USA Rice Proclaims Win Against Rice Pretenders: USA Rice, the leading rice industry organization in the United States, announced in recent post on its daily blog that it had successfully petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in an effort to force Planting Hope Brands to abandon its 'RightRice' trademark, which was used to market vegetable based products as rice. The USPTO's Patent & Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) agreed with the petition and ordered the cancelation of the trademark registration on the grounds that it was deceptively misdescriptive and deceptive. The Planting Hope Brands indicated they planned to appeal the decision. Even if they lose their appeal, they are still able to use the term 'RightRice' in marketing their product. More...USARiceDaily | PlantingHopeCompany | WashingtonBusinessJournal

Deere Showcases New Equipment at Commodity Classic: At the Commodity Classic held at the turn of the month in Houston, John Deere announced the introduction of new machinery to be available to farmers for the 2025 crop year. More...DTN | Deere | Deere Videos | AgWeb

Commodity Classic Info: Agri-Pulse | Commodity Classic Homepage | Commodity Classic Presentation Videos

SESO Labor H-2A Audit Webinar: Seso Labor, an incoming new sponsor of the Ag Council, recently held an online webinar focused on H-2A compliance and preparation for potential U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) audits. The webinar, which highlighted what to expect from such audits and how to plan for the audits, provided an overview for employers and showcased their software services aimed at simplifying compliance for users. is available online. More... View Webinar If prompted to enter a passcode use: n0&d8MSh | Slides | Book a Demo

Farm & Gin Show Info: March 1 Ag Outlook Video (Joe Nicosia) | March 2 Ag Outlook Video (Richard Brock) | March 2 Rice Market Seminar (Milo Hamilton)

Monthly Ag Economic Barometer: March Report ​​​​​ | Announcement | AgWeb | UA-Analysis

National Ag Law Center to Highlight Corporate Transparency Act Reporting Requirement with Webinar: If you own a small business, farm, or share beneficial ownership of an entity, you are likely subject to a new reporting requirement in 2024. The Corporate Transparency Act is directed at small businesses or entities who have beneficial owners, and failure to comply with reporting may result in criminal fines and penalties. More...UADA Release | UADA Release || | Registration Link for March 20 NALC Webinar on CTA

DTN Market Insights: Commodity Market Info

The RiceStuff Podcast: 2.27.24 Can Rice be Fancy?

USDA February Processing Reports:- Cotton System
- Cotton System - Ann.
- Fats & Oils
- Fats & Oils - Ann.
- Grain Crushings
- Peanut Prices
- Cotton Ginnings
- Crop Production

Regional Headlines: Delta Heritage Trail Advancing | Sultana Museum Sets Construction Date | ARDOT Closing I-55 River Bridge for 2 Weeks to Make Repairs

Other Ag Economic Headlines: Bayer Backs Off Plan to Sell Crop Science Division | AgWeb Bayer Plans : AgWeb FBN Names New CEO

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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