Farm Bureau Press - April 4, 2014
Candidate forum, April 22; FB Insurance promotions; AFGC Forage Bus Tour; Arkansas peanuts; Energy exemption forms; Poultry Spring Symposium; Register early for FSA programs; USDA reports provide direction for markets.
In Farm Bureau Candidate forum, April 22 Arkansas Farm Bureau will sponsor a statewide Measure the Candidate meeting April 22 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock. Candidates for state constitutional offices, the U.S. Senate, the 2nd Congressional District and the state Supreme Court have been invited to speak. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The program will start at 9:30 a.m. and conclude in the afternoon. Lunch will be provided. To help with the meal count, county representatives are urged to contact Michelle Kitchens at 501-228-1324 and let her know how many from each county plan to attend. Arkansas Farm Bureau considers this event important for keeping members engaged and informed about candidates. The forum also helps candidates for office understand that Farm Bureau cares about politics and issues. All ArFB members are encouraged to attend. Donations reach $1.8 million Donations to the American Farm Arkansas Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Rodney Baker (left) addressed county presidents during the Presidents’ Conference at Farm Bureau Center in Little Rock March 19. Five well-attended conferences were held around Arkansas, with a variety of presentations to assist county presidents in performing their duties. At each meeting, local leaders met with ArFB President Randy Veach and Vice President Rich Hillman to discuss issues of interest. Bureau Foundation for Agriculture totaled $1.8 million for 2013, the highest-ever in a calendar year. “We rely on our donors to fund our initiatives so we can have an agriculturally literate society,” said Foundation Chairman Bob Stallman. “Thanks in large part to generous donor contributions, 2013 was a remarkable year for the foundation in terms of building awareness, understanding and a positive perception of agriculture On National Ag Day, March 25, with lawmakers and agricultural leaders in attendance, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman E. Borlaug of Iowa was honored with a statue in the nation’s Capitol. Borlaug is credited for helping countries around the world grow better varieties of wheat and saving an estimated 1 billion people from hunger and starvation. KEITH SUTTON photo www.arfb.com through education.” Volunteer engagement in local communities to foster a deeper understanding of food, fiber and energy is a continuing focus of the foundation. Urban outreach events, building partnerships in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) area, Spanish translations of materials and creation of additional assessment guides for educational resources are planned for 2014. USDA photo A Publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation April 4, 2014 • Vol. 17, No. 7 STEVE HIGNIGHT photo POPE CO. FB photo FB Insurance promotions Five individuals have been named vice presidents at Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Arkansas, according to David Moore, vice president/general manager of the company. John Bonner of Vilonia is now vice president–claims. Tammy Crumley of Sherwood is vice president–human resources. Ken Kolb of Little Rock is vice president-information systems. Richard Sims of Little Rock is vice president-underwriting. And Rick Wells of Little Rock is vice president-finance. The five were elevated after recent action by the organization’s board of directors. Their roles provide responsibility for both Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Arkansas, Inc. and Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company’s Arkansas operations. In Arkansas Current Washington Co. FB President Scott Davis of Prairie Grove presented the president’s gavel to past President Gene Pharr of Lincoln for his service as a county officer. The presentation was made at the organization’s March 20 board meeting in Fayetteville. Pharr also serves on Arkansas Farm Bureau’s state board. programs and learn about grazing systems on stocker calf and cow/calf operations, electric fencing strategies, practical forage options, management for grazing 300 days per year, livestock water options and environmentally sound practices for forage and livestock management. The tour registration headquarters will be the Livestock Auction Barn at 706 Townsend Dr. in Pocahontas. The cost is $25 per person and $10 for students and includes lunch, handout materials and comfortable bus transportation. To register or obtain more information, call AFGC Secretary John Jennings at 501-671-2350. KEN MOORE photo KEITH SUTTON photo AFGC Forage Bus Tour If you want to improve your forage and livestock operation, make plans to attend the Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council’s Forage Bus Tour May 2 in Pocahontas. Participants will visit two area livestock farms with different grazing In March, members of the Pope Co. FB Women’s Committee served as judges for a dairy contest sponsored by the Dover 4-H chapter. Among those who assisted were (left to right) Ida Ruth Jones of Pottsville, Benita Drew of Pottsville, Lisa Smith of Dover, Pat Bocksnick of Dover and Sue Berkemeyer of Atkins. Beau Bishop (left), ArFB’s director of public policy for national affairs, stressed the need for comprehensive immigration reform during a March 19 news conference at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. Five more news conferences in different cities are scheduled in upcoming weeks to emphasize how immigration reform is needed to support local industries. Craighead Co. FB hosted a media appreciation dinner March 27 at the county office in Jonesboro. President Scott Gibson (right) presented certificates of appreciation to KAIT8-TV General Manager Chris Conroy (left) and representatives of the Jonesboro Sun, KASU Radio, Buzzard Billy Productions and ArFB’s Public Relations Department. Arkansas peanuts The Arkansas Agriculture Department reports that Arkansas is now considered one of the country’s primary peanut-producing states. This is the result of a Peanut Promotion, Research and Information Order issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture March 24. “I am pleased the National Peanut Board and the USDA officially recognized Arkansas as a primary peanut-producing state,” said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun. “Arkansas has the right soil, climate and adequate water to grow high-quality peanuts, and the crop fits well into the rotation cycle of our other major crops. This designation recognizes the commitment of Arkansas producers and the companies that have invested in Arkansas to continue to grow the industry and gives Arkansans a greater voice on the National Peanut Board as a full member.” Under the order, primary peanut-producing states must maintain a three-year average of at least 10,000 tons of peanuts. Primary peanut-producing states also have a seat on the National Peanut Board to ensure the board’s representation reflects changes in the geographical distribution of peanut production. Prior to the designation of Arkansas as a primary peanut- STEVE HIGNIGHT photo Energy exemption forms Farmers who do on-farm grain storage or drying may now fill out paperwork to gain a sales tax exemption for certain utilities. Act 1401 of 2013 provides an exemption from state and local sales taxes for electricity, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas used by qualifying grain-drying and storage facilities beginning July 1. The bill that created the exemption was sponsored by Sen. Johnathan Dismang of Searcy during the 2013 legislative session. The eligible utility must be separately metered and used only for the purpose of the exemption. If a utility is sold for any other purpose, it will not be eligible for the exemption. Multiple-use meters that provide the utility services for both graindrying and storage facilities and for other types of structures, facilities or equipment are not eligible for the exemption. Before the exemption is allowed, those claiming the exemption must obtain a certificate from the Department of Finance and Administration to provide to the utility supplier. The exemption does not include utilities used in irrigation. Dyed diesel is Carroll Co. FB President Rusty Butler (left) and Membership Chairman Charles Lichti (right) joined County Judge Sam Barr as the judge signed a proclamation declaring March 24-30 as Farm Bureau Week in the county. The event was held March 21 at the Carroll Co. FB office in Berryville. KEITH SUTTON photo producing state, Kyle Baltz of Pocahontas served as the at-large alternate member of the board. “We are excited to have achieved primary status on the National Peanut Board in a short time period,” said Baltz. “This acknowledgement is the result of the hard work of the Arkansas Peanut Growers Association and once again demonstrates the skill and flexibility of Arkansas farmers.” On March 31, Ewell Welch (left), retired ArFB executive vice president, was recognized for his contributions to agriculture with the dedication of the Ewell “Pete” Welch Boardroom at the Cooperative Extension Service office in Little Rock. Dr. Mark Cochran (right), head of UA’s Division of Agriculture, presided at the ceremony, which Welch attended with his wife Deanna. taxed at a per-gallon rate thanks to Act 87 of 2007, also supported by Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Forms for the exemption are found at www.arfb.com/legislationregulations/issue_update/default.aspx. Poultry Spring Symposium The Poultry Federation will hold its annual Poultry Spring Symposium at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers April 22-23. The conference is organized by TPF, the Poultry Improvement Committee and the Center for Excellence for Poultry Science. Attendees will learn about new innovations, technology and problem-solving solutions in production. The preregistration cost (April 18 deadline) is $60 for TPF members and $75 for non-TPF members. On-site registration is $100. All university students and growers receive free admission, but seats must be reserved in advance by calling the TPF office at 501-375-8131. Tabletop booth space for the vendor trade show is $100 for TPF members and $200 for non-TPF members. For more information, visit www.thepoultryfederation.com. Elsewhere Register early for FSA programs The USDA’s Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia recommends farmers and ranchers who plan to partici- pate in FSA programs register in advance. Producers should report farm records and business structure changes to a local FSA Service Center before April 15. Enrollment for disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program, will begin by April 15. “We expect significant interest in these programs,” said Garcia. “Early registration should help improve the sign-up process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I strongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time.” Farm records can be updated during business hours at FSA Service Centers that administer the county where the farm or ranch is located. Producers should call ahead to find out what paperwork they may need. In addition, bank account information should be supplied or updated if necessary to ensure that producers receive payments as quickly as possible through direct deposit. While any producer can report farm records and business structure changes, it is especially important for producers who suffered livestock, livestock grazing, honeybee, farm-raised fish or tree/vine losses for 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014 and may be eligible for assistance through one of the four disaster programs. For more information, visit fsa.usda.gov. Editor Keith Sutton email@example.com In the Market As of April 1, 2014: USDA reports provide direction for markets During the past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released some of its most important reports this year. The week began with the Quarterly Hogs and Pig Report released Friday. This report was to give the market its first official look at how the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has affected U.S. pork production. Herds infected with this virus see 100-percent mortality rates in piglets. The average trade estimate before the report was for the pig herd to be down 5.5 percent from last year. Instead, the USDA put the herd down only 3 percent, a difference of more than 1.4 million pigs. On Monday, the USDA released two crop reports: the Quarterly Stocks Report and Prospective Plantings Report. The market was very anxious for both of these reports as they wanted to see if demand for soybeans and corn during the second quarter would be as strong as it was in the first quarter for, and then to see what producers were thinking in terms of crop mix. In the corn market, traders expected stocks to be between 6.816 and 7.54 billion bushels, with an average estimate of 7.098 billion bushels. In Mondayâ€™s report, the USDA reported stocks of 7.01 billion, 97 million bushels less than the average estimate. This showed corn demand remained very strong in the second quarter and may signal that the USDA will lower corn stocks further in coming months. This level of stocks will help support prices into the fall and, if demand for corn remains robust, prices are likely to remain above $4.50 throughout summer. Additionally, the USDA also released the planting intention report which showed U.S. farmers are planning to plant 91.691 million acres of corn in 2014. Thatâ€™s down more than 5.5 million acres from what they have intended to plant the last two years and is even less than 2011 intentions. This number will likely drive this market into the fall as it implies U.S. farmers will harvest around 84 million acres, which means yields will need to be in excess of 160 bushels just to hold stocks above 1.5 billion bushels, assuming corn demand remains flat or increases slightly in 2014. Given the current weather in the Midwest there is some concern as to whether this much corn will even be planted and, if weather deteriorates into the summer, prices will begin to move higher as the market will have to ration demand. The soybean reports came in very close to trade expectations. The USDA estimated soybean stocks at 992 million bushels compared to the trade estimate of 988 million bushels. While this was higher than trade expectation, it was still the lowest stock level since 2004. While the market initially moved lower after this report, prices have since rebounded as domestic and export demand remain strong for soybeans, which will likely continue to support prices into the fall as stocks remain at pipeline levels. While the USDA initial February forecast of soybean acres was for the U.S. to only plant 79.5 million acres, Mondayâ€™s report was much closer to private estimates as prospective plantings came in at 81.493 million acres. Even with acreage that is almost 5 million acres above last year, the soybean market will need good yields to keep up with demand, assuming demand remains near 2013 levels. If the weather becomes unfavorable for soybeans this summer and yields are unable to top 40 bushels per acre, this market will likely be forced to again ration soybeans. As for other crops, the rice stocks confirmed continued tight supplies, while wheat stocks came in slightly higher than trade expectations. The planting intentions for rice confirmed expectations as Arkansas is forecast to plant 1.521 million acres, up 445,000 in 2014 compared to 2013. Overall U.S. rice acres are forecast to be only 2.877 million acres as the drought in California is expect to reduce plantings by 116,000 acres or 20 percent. Because of this decline, Arkansas farmers are expected to increase their medium rice acres by 50,000. Cotton acres came in near trade expectations at 11.1 million, up almost 700,000 acres from 2013. Almost all gains in cotton acres came from Texas. Arkansas cotton acres were up 30,000 to 340,000. CONTACT Brandy Carroll 501-228-1268, firstname.lastname@example.org Bruce Tencleve 501-228-1856, email@example.com Matt King 501-228-1297, firstname.lastname@example.org