Farm Bureau Press - May 16, 2014
Farm Bureau Press is a bi-weekly newsletter published by Arkansas Farm Bureau for the benefit of our volunteer leaders throughout the state. In addition to promoting the work of our county organizations, the newsletter seeks to keep our leaders informed by providing pertinent organizational and industry news.
A Publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation May 16, 2014 • Vol. 17, No. 10 www.arfb.com A worker plants soybeans on the farm of Jon and Jim Carroll near Moro on May 6. According to the May 12 Crop Progress Report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Arkansas farmers have planted 42 percent of the intended soybean crop, which is 6 percent higher than the 2009-2013 average. Seventy three percent of the sorghum crop has been planted, 82 percent of the rice crop and 95 percent of the corn crop. churches and community centers. AFMC is seeking partnerships with county Farm Bureaus to aid in obtaining these blood pressure stations, as well as to assist with coordination of education and outreach. Education and outreach efforts will be in collaboration with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, which has an innovative strategy, the Wellness Ambassador Program, to encourage projects like the placeKay Thomason with Bradley Co. FB and Joan Bond with Howard Co. FB were recognized as the longest - tenured member service representatives at the Little Rock MSR Conference on May 8. Both have worked for Farm Bureau for 46 years. David Moore (left), vice president of FB Mutual Insurance Company of Arkansas, and Randy Veach ArFB President congratulated the ladies. ment of community blood pressure stations and teaches program participants how to improve their own health and the health of those around them. “I encourage every county to take advantage of the opportunity to bring life-saving information and screenings to their community by purchasing a blood pressure station and placing it in a community facility,” Victory said. “We will be working with AFMC In Farm Bureau KEITH SUTTON photo Million Hearts Initiative Arkansas Farm Bureau is partnering with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care to bring awareness to the prevalence of heart disease and stroke and is offering ways to help prevent and control them through the Million Hearts Initiative. Million Hearts is a national initiative with the goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. It brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies and private sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke. “Arkansas Farm Bureau is committed to improving the health of rural communities,” said Jennifer Victory, ArFB’s rural health specialist. “Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Arkansas, and one of the best ways to combat them is with preventative care and heart-health awareness.” In Arkansas, Million Hearts is bringing preventative screening to rural areas by placing blood pressure stations in widely used community facilities such as libraries, KEITH SUTTON photo Ag science workshops The Arkansas Ag in the Classroom program and the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board are sponsoring workshops this summer for Arkansas science teachers. Their purpose is to encourage teachers to include agricultural science experiments in their curricula and generate student interest in agricultural science. Though they are filling up, there are still openings. A Jonesboro workshop will take place June 3-4 at the Judd Hill Plantation classroom. A Fayetteville workshop will take place June 16-17 at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s laboratory. A Stuttgart workshop will take place July 23-24 at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s lab. For more information, contact Andy Guffey at 501-228-1219. Farm bill resources website The American Farm Bureau Federation has launched a new website to summarize and provide access to current farm bill information and educational resources. The website includes a series of video presentations produced by AFBF in which the key Faulkner County second graders learned about where their food, fiber and some of their fuel comes from at the Faulkner County Farm Round Up in Conway April 16-17. The event, hosted by the Faulkner County Cooperative Extension Service and sponsored by Faulker County Farm Bureau, drew some 1,300 second graders from area schools. commodity and crop insurance provisions of the 2014 farm bill are explained. Video presentations include Farm Bill Overview, The Price Loss Coverage and Supplemental Coverage Option Programs, The Agricultural Risk Coverage Program, The Stacked Income Protection Program for Cotton and The Dairy Margin Protection Program. Users can link to the website from www. fb.org, or use the direct link to the site, http:// goo.gl/CgwxmT. The site will be updated as STEVE HIGNIGHT photo to identify local suppliers and to ensure the best cost for these commercial-grade, tabletop blood pressure stations.” For more information, contact Victory at 501-228-1269. UA photo Doug Eveld (left), agency manager for Franklin Co. FB, and insurance agent Gary Couthren cooked fish and side dishes for those who attended the agency’s Measure the Candidate meeting May 5 in Ozark. Fifty board members and guests heard from five candidates running for county judge and one candidate for county clerk. additional farm bill information becomes available. In Arkansas Century Farm apps due May 31 The Arkansas Agriculture Department reminds potential applicants it is accepting applications for the 2014 Arkansas Century Farm program. The program recognizes Arkansas’ rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and places no restrictions on the land. Since the program’s inception in 2012, 185 farms have been certified as Arkansas Century Farms. To qualify, a farm must have been owned by the same family for 100 years by Dec. 31, 2014. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption. The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income. “It’s a privilege to recognize the generations of Arkansas farmers and ranchers who have persevered for a century or more to provide food, fiber, timber and energy” said Butch Calhoun, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. Qualified applicants will be presented with a personalized metal sign and a certificate. Only the legal owners of the Katie and Will Welch (left) of Alpena pose with the check for winning the 2014 Soybean Science Challenge Award with a study of plant color’s use as an inexpensive crop-monitoring method. On the right is Dr. Rick Cartwright, a judge for the challenge. The new program is sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service and Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. KEITH SUTTON photo UA photo Ron Rainey with University of Arkansas’ Center for Agriculture and Sustainability reports Arkansas’ strawberry crop is coming in full force, which should provide consumers with fresh, tasty berries for the next few weeks. “They’re not anticipating it to be a very long crop, but the size and quality of the strawberries should be good,” he said. land may apply. There is no cost to apply for the program. Applications can be obtained from the Arkansas Agriculture Department by calling 501-683-4851 or by visiting aad.arkansas.gov. Applications must be postmarked by May 31 to be eligible for designation in 2014. For more information, contact Zachary Taylor at 501-219-6324. Assistance for forest landowners Forest landowners in 29 counties in western Arkansas have until June 13 to apply for financial assistance for the voluntary implementation of forest land conservation practices to help restore, maintain and enhance more open woodland. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service recently announced a multiyear partnership to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems across the nation. The Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration project aims to double the conservation activity on private lands and on the Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita national forests during the next three years. “Both these agencies have the same goal: improving the health of our forest lands,” Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist said. “The project has two components that will restore and improve forest land. The NRCS portion will provide voluntary, incentive-based assistance to private landowners, while the Forest Service portion will focus on Forest Service lands.” Key conservation practices include forest stand improvement (thinning), prescribed KEITH SUTTON photo Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach (left) addressed a crowd of more than 160 who attended ArFB’s Member Service Representative Conference in Little Rock on May 7-8. The conference theme was “Value of Service.” Workshops included What’s Important Now in Insurance, County Records: The Owner’s Manual and FB Savings Plus. burning, firebreaks, tree and shrub planting and forage and biomass planting. All trees, shrubs and grass planted through the program must be native. “As with all NRCS programs, participation is completely voluntary,” Sullivan said. “This project incorporates the same practices at an accelerated pace landowners have been voluntarily implementing for years.” Additional information about the project, an area map and conservation practices, are available at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov. New student center The newly developed student success center in the University of Arkansas poultry science department is now open. It is designed to encourage and support students’ overall success during their undergraduate careers. Whether a student is looking for an internship or needs information about a class, assistance will be available in the student success center. The center creates a place where students can find information on classes, scholarships, internships and student job opportunities at the farm and research facilities, all in one convenient place. The poultry science student success center is located in room O-115 of the John W. Tyson Building. The poultry science department and the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science include a complex of teaching, research and extension facilities at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the John W. Tyson Poultry Science Building on campus. The department provides the curriculum for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Elsewhere $78 million for food enterprises Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making a historic $78 million investment in local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises. “The 2014 farm bill has given USDA new tools, resources and authority to support the rural economy,” Vilsack said. “Consumer demand for locally-produced food is strong and growing, and farmers and ranchers are positioning their businesses to meet that demand. As this sector continues to mature, we see aggregation, processing and distribution enterprises across the local food supply chain growing rapidly. These historic USDA investments in support of local food give farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provide consumers with more choices, and create jobs in both rural and urban communities.” Vilsack said $48 million in loan guarantees for local food projects are now available through USDA’s Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, and $30 million is available through competitive grants via the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program. Editor Keith Sutton CRAWFORD CO FB photo Crawford Co. FB President Tim Neidecker (left) listens as Shawn Firestein with the county sheriff’s office discusses a special election to decide the fate of a sales tax proposal for a new county jail. Firestein told members of the county Farm Bureau the current jail has been outgrown and encouraged passage of the measure to build a new jail near Alma. email@example.com In the Market As of May 15, 2014 USDA releases 2014-15 supply and demand estimates On May 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the market its first look at the 2014-15 crop year. After two years of tight supplies in most grain markets, good weather this summer could solve that issue. Corn yields are forecast to reach 165.3 bushels per acre, which would put stocks at more than 1.7 billion bushels. While acreage is down more than 3 million acres, the increase in yield more than makes up for the loss in acres, allowing production to remain virtually unchanged from 2013. A decline in exports and feed use led to almost a 600-million-bushel increase in stocks and lowered the price forecast to $3.85-$4.55 for 2014-15. Soybeans are forecast to yield 45.2 bushels per acre, which would push stocks to 330 million bushels, up 200 million bushels from this year. While the 2014-15 numbers are bearish for prices, soybeans were up on Friday as the USDA again tightened the 201314 stocks to only 130 million bushels. That’s just a 14-day supply of soybeans here in the U.S. Tight supplies in 2013 will likely make the soybean market look very similar to corn last year. Corn prices held strong, with prices around $5.50 and strong basis levels. However, when crop harvest began, prices tumbled and lost between 20 and 30 percent of their value. The USDA forecast the soybean price to be between $9.75 and $11.75 in 2014-15. The USDA forecasts the U.S. will produce 131.9 million cwt. of longgrain rice in 2014, which is a 29.1 million cwt. increase from 2013. This estimate is based on the March Perspective Planting report. However, as the drought continues in California, there have been reports of more medium-grain rice being planted in the Delta. If this is at the expense of long-grain rice, the long-grain rice balance sheet could tighten when final acreage is reported in June. Cotton production is also forecast to see substantial growth, with production increasing 14.5 million bales, up 1.59 million bales from 2013. While the persistent drought in Texas continues to cause concern, we will have to wait a couple of months before the full impact of this drought can be measured. China is another wild card in this market. It has implemented numerous policies to try and reduce cotton stocks, but the USDA continues to show Chinese imports at more than 8.5 million bales, which again is boosting Chinese stocks. Planting back on track The USDA released its planting progress report on May 12, which showed corn and rice plantings finally surpassing the five-year average. While most expected significant planting progress last week, few forecast this strong of a response. Major growing areas in Iowa and Illinois saw between 40 and 50 percent of the crop planted last week, while soybean and cotton plantings moved within just a couple of percentage points of the five-year average. USDA reports improved pasture quality in the U.S. The USDA reports 41 percent of the pasture in the U.S. is rated good to excellent. This compares to 34 percent last year. Pastures in drought-stricken states like Texas and Kansas are listed as less than 25 percent good to excellent. Pastures here in the Midsouth range from 50 to 65 percent good to excellent. Recent rains will likely help improve these pastures further. El Nino probable this summer Meteorologists are now forecasting a 70-percent chance of an El Nino weather pattern this summer. An El Nino typically brings a cooler, wetter summer to the United States. The potential for this weather pattern to develop has many optimistic about grain yields and hay production in the U.S. Livestock prices continue to post records Tight supplies in the cattle market caused by herd liquidation a couple of years ago have led to cattle prices most thought were impossible just a few years ago. Articles are even being written on the probability of $3-perpound feeder cattle prices. While local prices are not there yet, sales around $2 per pound are becoming more common. While concern still remains as to how much consumers are willing to pay for beef, we have not reached that level yet. Record box beef prices are still selling at the retail level. (This makes no sense.) Strong cattle prices are likely to continue as we are still at least a couple of years away from being able to replenish our herds. 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