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September 22 News & Info Brief

SEPTEMBER 22, 2023


Shutdown Looms as House Struggles to Find Solution: The U.S. House of Representatives remains the greatest sticking point in getting something done to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the 2023 fiscal year, which ends September 30th. The House has struggled to approve individual spending measures, and even efforts to pass a continuing resolution with agreeable spending cuts seems to be difficult challenge. The lack of consensus and disagreement between the House and Senate are making the most basic function of Congress (funding the government) a difficult task. A shutdown is expected to take a toll on several government programs and the economy generally, especially if it drags on for an extended time period. More...ArkansasOnline | DTNPF | UADA | WSJ | AgWeb | Reuters | AP | Politico I | Politico II | WashingtonPost |

Farm Bill Actions Take Back Seat to Appropriations: A new farm bill is unlikely to gain any traction until a solution is reached on funding the government beyond the current 2023 fiscal year. While discussions and bill drafting continue among leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, legislation is not expected to be introduced or considered by the committees until a long term solution is reached on the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, it's unlikely that an extension of current law for the upcoming 2023 crop year would gain consideration until such time as well. More...Agri-Pulse | Reuters | AgWeb | DTNPF | ArkansasOnline |

EPA Efforts on ESA Compliance Continues to Draw Ire of Agriculture: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing to implement its Endangered Species Act Workplan with the roll out of its Vulnerable Species Pilot Program and its Herbicide Strategy, which precede similar future regulatory initatives related to insecticides and fungicides. The EPA's efforts are aimed at meeting concerns related to its lack of compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but the proposed plan for identifying habitat and species, as well as its proposed mandatory mitigation requirements, have not been well received by farmers and agriculture at large. The proposed regulations relative to product use are far more restrictive than what is currently allowed as farmers would be required to provide advanced notifications for products applied, maintain records or each application, and utilize a menu of mitigation activities on each field to limit any potential risks to species or habitat related to drift and runoff of water and sediment. In addition, farmers and applicators would be more subject to being found in violation of the ESA and subject to related criminal and civil penalties. More...Agri-Pulse | Ag Industry Letter on Vulnerable Species Pilot | AgDaily

Farmers Encouraged to Comment on New Herbicide Strategy: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would extend the comment period 30 days for its proposed strategy on herbicides until October 22. The strategy is part of a larger plan to address recent court rulings related to the EPA’s work to protect federally endangered and threatened (listed) species from conventional agricultural crop protection products. According to the EPA, the strategy describes proposed early mitigations for more than 900 listed species and designated critical habitats to reduce potential impacts from the agricultural use of these herbicides while helping to ensure the continued availability of these important pesticide tools. We encourage farmers to provide comments informing EPA of concerns related to the new proposed rules and guidelines. More...EPA Draft Strategy on Herbicides | Announcement to Extend Comment Period | Federal Register Docket | Submit Comments | July 24 EPA Announcement on Herbicide Strategy | EPA Webinar on Herbicide Strategy | National Ag Law Center | War Against Weeds Podcast I I War Against Weeds Podcast II

H2A Working Group Welcomes Comments: A new bipartisan House Agriculture Committee working group is seeking public input on the H-2A visa program in an effort to identify ideas for improving the program for farmers. Arkansas First District Congressman Rick Crawford is helping to lead the initiative. Survey participation is encouraged from employers of H-2A workers in Arkansas. We encourage farmers and other H-2A employers in Arkansas to offer comments to the working group. More...Survey Portal | About the Working Group

USDA Follows Boozman & Stabenow Recommendation to Increase Foreign Marketing with CCC: USDA recently announced that it would utilize the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to increase investments in international marketing efforts for U.S. grown agricultural commodities. The move follows a recent letter from Chairwoman Stabenow and Vice-Chairman Boozman calling for such an investment to bolster U.S. agriculture exports. USDA intends to spend $2.5 billion with $1.4 billion aimed at helping commodity organizations market their products overseas and $1.1 billion to pay for commodity-based international food aid. More...Agri-Pulse | Agri-Pulse II

GAO Offers Opinion Supporting USDA Use of CCC for Climate Smart Commodity Initiative: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently affirmed USDA's legal authority for using the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to support the agency's recent investments in new Climate Smart Commodity programs. The total investment in these programs were $3.1 billion, and the dollars were aimed at building markets for agricultural practices and products that reduce green house gas emissions and sequester carbon. More...Agri-Pulse | GAO Letter |

New Republican Ag Committee Report Calls for Using CCC Climate Funding for Farm Bill Baseline: A new report from Senate Agriculture Committee Vice Chairman John Boozman called for Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding earmarked for climate smart commodities be repurposed to increase budget baseline for the next farm bill so that enhancements to farm safety net programs can be made. More...Senate Republican Ag Committee Report

USDA Offers New Grant Opportunity for H-2A Employers: On September 22, USDA announced a new grant program for eligible H-2A employers under a new pilot program designed to improve the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain by addressing workforce challenges farmers and ranchers face. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in coordination with other federal agencies, will make available up to $65 million in grants available for the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program). Applications are due by November 28. More...Agri-Pulse | USDA Announcement | About the FLSP Program


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

Special Legislative Session Provides New Income Tax Cuts: The Arkansas General Assembly met in mid-September to hold a special legislative session called by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders in which additional corporate and individual state income tax were approved. In addition to a one-time tax rebate for individuals making under $90,000, the legislature approved a reduction in the top personal income tax rate from 4.7% to 4.4%, and a reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 5.1% to 4.8%. More...ArkansasOnline | | ArkansasOnline ||

Senate Confirms Plant Board Appointments: During the week of the Special Session of the General Assembly, the Senate approved the Governor's eight new appointees to the Arkansas State Plant Board. The newly appointed board members met for their first meeting in late August. Newly confirmed members include David Wallace Jr., George Dunklin, Jon Bierbaum, Kyle Batz, Robert Thorne, Robin Ralston, Sammy Angel and Garrett Frost. More...ArkansasOnline | | Arkansas Online II | Plant Industries Division of Arkansas Ag Department | August 24 Meeting Info

Arkansas Rice Industry Tops Previous Record in FoodBank Donation: The Arkansas Rice Federation and ten of its member rice mills donated a record 240,000 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank on September 20. The donation, which took place during Rice Month and Hunger Action Month, will provide nearly 1.8 million servings of rice throughout Arkansas to help feed families, children, and seniors. More...TalkBusiness | ArkansasOnline | KATV

Rice Gene Editing Studies at UofA Offer Promise for Future: Researchers at the University of Arkansas are making headway in utilizing gene editing technology to address a growing concern in rice production related to higher nighttime temperatures. These higher temperatures, which have been experienced in recent years, affect both yield and quality in rice. Through discoveries in the area of gene editing, UofA researchers have filed for patents related to promising potential market solutions for rice production. More...UADA Release | Research Paper

University Seeks Farmer Help in Identifying Herbicide Resistent Rice Weeds: Arkansas rice farmers are encouraged to submit suspected herbicide resistant weeds for further research by the UofA Division of Agriculture to determine levels of potential resistance throughout the state. Farmers can collect and submit samples from mature seedheads to allow for a successful herbicide resistance evaluation. More...FarmPress |

UofA Researchers Get NSF Grant to Develop Nanotechnology Drift Solution: CelluDot LLC, a startup founded by University of Arkansas engineering alumni, will be using a nearly $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to optimize a nanotechnology product they developed as doctoral students to mitigate herbicide drift, all in collaboration with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. The $959,510 NSF Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant supports the company’s research to optimize and commercialize its nanocellulose-based formulation called BioGrip™, for herbicide applications. The all-in-one product has three functions: drift-reducing agent, volatility-reducing agent, and a surfactant. BioGrip is made from forestry waste, like sawdust, rather than petroleum-based chemicals. More...UADA Release | ArkansasOnline

Arkansas Ag Secretary Takes New Leadership Role at NASDA: Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward was elected to serve as First Vice President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) for the coming year. The move positions him to serve as president of the organization in 2025. NASDA is an influential voice in agriculture policy as it represents the perspectives of all state departments of agriculture throughout the nation. Ward has previously served in other executive leadership roles for the organization, including most recently as Second Vice President. More...NASDA Release | Arkansas Department of Agriculture Release

UofA and Division of Ag Sign Historic Partnership Agreement: Earlier this month, members of the University of Arkansas System's Board of Trustees announced the completion of a new agreement between the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA). The agreement was reached between University of Arkansas Chancellor Charles Robinson, Jean-François Meullenet, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and interim dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and Deacue Fields, VP of Agriculture for the University of Arkansas System. The agreement outlines cooperative processes and defines roles and responsibilities related to finance and human resources operations, services, benefits, facilities and space allocation, and management of joint faculty and staff appointments. More...UADA Release | Agreement Document

Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame Accepting Nominations for Next Class of Inductees: The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame recently announced that it is seeking nominations from the public for its next class. The Agriculture Hall of Fame recognizes Arkansans who have contributed significantly to the state’s largest industry while spotlighting their contributions to the state’s economic development. Since its first class was selected in 1987, a total of 176 men and women have been inducted. The nomination deadline is November 1 and the induction ceremony will be held March 1 in Little Rock at the Doubletree Hotel. More...TalkBusiness | Nomination Forms | Ag HOF Website

Abandoned Pesticide Collection Dates and Sites Set for Northeast Arkansas: The Arkansas Department of Agriculture announced that it will hold three fall collections for abandoned pesticides in Northeast Arkansas beginning November 1. Craighead County will hold the first collection on November 1 at Simplot [7997 Hwy 18 Lake City, AR 72437]; Poinsett County will hold the second collection on November 2 at Poinsett County Landfill [751 North East St. Harrisburg, AR 72432]; and Mississippi County will hold the third collection on November 3 at Nutrien Ag [Lost Cane 2096 West State HWY 158 Manila, AR 72442]. Collection hours are from 8am until 1pm. More...About the program | Fall Collection Info | Inventory Form (required)

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 Feral Hog Task Force Announces Progress in Combating Pest: According to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force removed 1,729 feral hogs in August 2023. Individuals from the public reported the removal of eight feral hogs in August 2023. More...Feral Hog Task Force |

Mississippi River Levels Affecting Local Market: River levels in the Mississippi River have dropped precipitously in recent weeks to low levels that are affecting barge traffic and prices received by farmers delivering grain for shipment. Forecasts point to further decline in river levels due to insufficient rainfall in the basin. More...RFDTV | AP | AgWeb | TalkBusiness | USA Today | USDA Grain Reports

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
Arkansas State Fair Oct 13-22
Arkansas Association for Food Protection Conference Sept. 26-28
USDA NRCS Arkansas Offices
USDA County Cash Rent Estimates
Arkansas Crops Update
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


September 18 Crop Progress Report: On Monday, September 18th, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued a Crop Progress Report for Arkansas showing 65 percent of the cotton crop to be in good to excellent condition, 75 percent of soybeans to be in good to excellent condition, 79 percent of rice to be in good to excellent condition, and 72 percent of peanuts to be in good to excellent condition. Harvest was also well underway with 78 percent of corn harvested, 58 percent of rice harvested, 19 percent of peanuts dug, 15 percent of soybeans harvested, and 1 percent of cotton harvested. More... Arkansas Report | US Report

USDA September WASDE Report: USDA issued its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report on Tuesday, September 12th. The report provides the latest estimates for supply and demand of major crops in the U.S. and around the world. More...9.12.23 WASDE Report | Secretary Briefing | WASDE Visualization

LSU Looks to Deliver New Poison Product to Combat Feral Hogs: LSU was recently awarded a patent for new feral hog poison that offers a promising solution to an ever growing problem for agriculture. The poison is served as a bait that scientists say has minimal impact on the environment and nontarget species. The product has a consistency similar to gummy bears, however it is shaped into golf ball-sized spheres and contains scents and flavors to attract the wild hogs. More...ShreveportTimes | MSN

DTN Market Insights: Commodity Market Info

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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