In Farm Bureau Convention travel packages Arkansas Farm Bureau is offering landonly travel packages to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2014 Annual Convention, Jan. 12-15, in San Antonio. Packages are available for three or four nights, with single- or double-occupancy rooms. All begin Jan. 11 and include lodging at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, convention registration and admission to the Arkansas President’s Reception and the Foundation for Agriculture Flapjack Breakfast. For more information on these packages, including prices, contact MaLeta Stephens at 501-228-1470 or maleta.stephens@arfb. com. More than 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in the Alamo City for AFBF’s 95th Annual Convention to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy-setting process that will guide AFBF through 2014. Gen. Stan McChrystal, a retired four-star general and
On Oct. 30, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a discussion on the farm bill at the State Chamber of Commerce office in Little Rock. He talked about the importance of passing a “Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.” “It is imperative and essential this gets done and gets done now,” Vilsack said. “The challenges, difficulties and issues are tough. But, at the end of the day, we’ve gone on long enough without certainty, and we need certainty in policy.” former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will deliver the keynote address. Country music star Josh Turner will headline the Foundation’s Night Out on Jan. 13. The event at Cowboys Dancehall will feature two bull-riding showcases, a mechanical bull and billiards. Tickets for this Farm Bureau exclusive event are $63. Convention attendees also can purchase discount tickets to see the San Antonio At their Oct. 24 annual meeting in Hampton, Calhoun Co. FB leaders received an incentive check from ArFB area coordinator Justin Reynolds (second from right) for being the second county in the state to reach membership quota. Present were (l to r) agency manager Reed Camp, board members Mary Rowen and Nell Thomason, and ArFB state board member Johnny Loftin.
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Spurs play basketball. Learn more about convention events and related activities by visiting http://annualconvention.fb.org/.
In Arkansas Festival grant program The Arkansas Agriculture Department will administer $45,000 in one-time fund-
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A Publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation
November 8, 2013 • Vol. 16, No. 21
Haley Hipp, a member of Harrison FFA in Boone County, received two awards from ArFB Executive Vice President Rodney Baker at the Arkansas Purple Circle Club recognition program Oct. 26 in Little Rock. Through the program, ArFB recognized more than 100 youngsters for exhibiting grand champion animals at the state fair.
Dignitaries broke ground for UofA’s Soil Testing and Research Laboratory expansion and renovation during recent ceremonies in Marianna. The facility’s receiving and laboratory buildings will be replaced with new and larger ones and the existing office wing will be improved during the year-long project.
firefighters on duty. What little resources firefighters have are being stretched to the brink. For the past three years, Arkansas farmers have been stepping up to help bridge this resources gap, directing thousands of dollars to their local first responders. America’s Farmers Grow Communities, supported by the Monsanto Fund, allows winning farmers to direct a $2,500 donation to a local non-profit organization of their choice. Since the program launched in 2011, Arkansas farmers have directed a total of $65,000 to area first responders. Last year, 14 departments received Grow Communities donations.
“I was so surprised and appreciative to hear I was the winner of an America’s Farmers Grow Communities award,” said Glenda McCarty, 2013’s winning farmer for Jefferson County. “I chose to give the $2,500 donation to the Humphrey Volunteer Fire Department because my husband used to volunteer with the unit.” Enrollment for Grow Communities 2014 opened Aug. 5. Farmers in eligible counties are invited to visit www.GrowCommunities.com to sign up for the chance to win $2,500 for their local fire protection unit or another area non-profit. Enrollment closes Nov. 30. Winning farmers will be announced in December.
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KEITH SUTTON photo
Farmers support fire departments In 2012, U.S. fire departments responded to 1,375,000 fires, a fire every 23 minutes, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In Arkansas, in particular, firefighters are feeling the heat. In 2010, 49 percent of Arkansas fire departments did not have enough selfcontained breath apparatuses to equip all
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ing made available to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission for Arkansas festivals featuring an agricultural or forestry product, commerce or theme and held or proposed to be held on an annual basis. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 24. Butch Calhoun, Secretary of Agriculture for Arkansas, stated, “Arkansas festivals are important to the quality of life and the economy in cities and towns across the state. The Arkansas Agriculture Department is pleased to make these funds available to festivals that help promote Arkansas’ agriculture industry, the state’s largest industry, which provides more than $17 billion to the state’s economy.” Applicants may apply for a minimum of $1,000 and up to a maximum of $5,000. Grant funds may be used for operating and program expenses and must be spent within one year. The application must be submitted by a city or county. For an application and more information about program requirements, go to http://aad. arkansas.gov/Pages/programs.aspx.
At the Independence Co. FB annual meeting in Batesville, President Eddie Joe Wagoner (left) recognized Lucinda and Parmer Hankins of Oil Trough as the county Farm Family of the Year. Every county Farm Bureau in the state held an annual meeting this year, ending with Independence County’s meeting on Oct. 28.
According to the latest crop progress report issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Arkansas’ corn harvest is complete. Sorghum is 98 percent harvested, rice 92 percent harvested, soybeans 60 percent harvested and cotton 54 percent harvested. Winter wheat is 44 percent planted with 24 percent emerged.
New ag radio network East Arkansas Broadcasters has formed the EAB Ag Network, a new farm information radio network that will launch in January 2014. The network is anchored by its flagship station, Jonesboro-based KFIN. Its affiliate list includes stations throughout eastern and central Arkansas, with signal coverage in western Mississippi, western Tennessee and southeast Missouri. Several EAB stations are affiliated with the Arkansas Radio Network through the end of 2013. These stations currently air on both ARN and EAB Markets. Beginning in 2014, they will carry only EAB Ag programming, which will include the latest in weather, farm news and markets. Mitch Mahan has been named farm broadcaster for the EAB Ag Network. A broadcasting and programming veteran, Mahan joined East Arkansas Broadcast-
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ers in 2009. He delivers markets and farm news. Cate Morgan has been named associate farm broadcaster. East Arkansas Broadcasters is a familyowned radio group that began operations in 1956 with KWYN-AM 1400 in Wynne and has grown to include stations in Jonesboro, Stuttgart and Pocahontas through its affiliated companies. EAB recently filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to purchase radio stations in the Arkansas River Valley, which will bring its total number of owned and operated stations to 25, making it the largest radio group in the state.
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FFA receives $1 million donation The Ram Truck brand celebrated the passion ignited around its “Year of the Farmer” initiative by presenting Clay Sapp, 2012-2013 National FFA President, with a $1 million donation at the 2013 National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30. Ram Truck brand declared 2013 the “Year of the Farmer” during the Super Bowl last February, when its much-talked-about television spot, “Farmer,” kicked off a yearlong initiative to bring national attention
ArFB President Randy Veach, Vice President Rich Hillman and SecretaryTreasurer Tom Jones recently visited Japan to discuss ag trade expansion. While there, they met with Shinichi Taya, deputy director of international affairs for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Pictured are (l to r) Boon Tan, director of Asian Trade Development for the Ark. World Trade Center; Jones; Taya; Veach; Hillman; and Kiichi Narita, MAFF’s senior policy advisor for international affairs.
Visitors to Parker Homestead’s festival near Harrisburg step back in time to experience life 150 years ago. Included are demonstrations of sorghum cane being crushed to extract juice used in making sweet sorghum syrup. Thirty acres of sorghum are grown at the homestead. The annual festival takes place the second and third weekends of October to coincide with harvest’s end.
to the significance of the American farmer. Ram pledged to donate up to $1 million to FFA for views of the “Farmer” video on its website. The brand reached the 10-million-view milestone, equating to the $1 million donation, in less than a week. “To date, “Farmer” has been viewed online more than 22 million times, underscoring America’s support for the important role farmers play in our country,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand. “It is a pleasure to present the check to FFA and to be among thousands of dedicated FFA members who convey the spirit of what we at Ram Trucks value most of all: courage, dignity, integrity and examplesetting through hard work.” CSP payments arriving soon Farmers waiting for their Conservation Security or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) payments should receive them in the coming days. The shutdown of the federal government delayed some of the $907 million in payments from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to CSP participants who have enrolled millions of acres to improve the overall conservation performance of their operations. “Farmers and ranchers are stewards of our natural resources, and their efforts
show the value of conservation — working farms, ranches and forests can provide food and fiber as well as clean water and valuable wildlife habitat,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “We’re happy to have our staff back in the field where they can continue working with farmers and ranchers to put conservation practices on the ground.” The payments are part of a financial assistance program for farmers who are already established conservation stewards and are implementing additional conservation activities for higher, farm-level benefits on their property. This work leads to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and enhanced wildlife habitat, while also supporting rural economies. The Conservation Stewardship Program, now in its fifth year, replaced the former Conservation Security Program. To date, farmers, ranchers and forestland owners have enrolled about 60 million acres into the programs. Funding for other Farm Bill programs expired Sept. 30, including the Conservation Reserve Program, Grassland Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Program, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative and Healthy Forests Reserve Program. For more information, visit your local USDA Service Center. Editor Keith Sutton
In the Market As of November 5, 2013
Last week, Arkansas Farm Bureau officers visited one of the United States’ largest agricultural export markets, Japan, the largest market for U.S. corn and beef. While the Japanese market would be considered a mature market, the potential to increase U.S. exports remains. With a population of more than 127 million and a land mass roughly the size of California, Japan is not capable of producing the food necessary to feed its people. On a caloric basis, the Japanese people must import more than 60 percent of the food they consume. The Japanese consumer is much different than the U.S. consumer in that they are more concerned about quality of food, instead of quantity. While the Japanese consumer on average only consumes 1,200 calories per day, they spend more than 25 percent of their disposable income on food, compared to the U.S. where we consume 2,700 calories per day and spend less than 10 percent of disposable income on food. One of the biggest opportunities for U.S. agriculture is the Japanese beef market. With limited land, Japanese wagyu beef cattle are fed grain throughout their lives, which leads to intense marbling and a high-value cut of meat. The Japanese wagyu beef will cost at least $70 for a small steak at a restaurant, compared to $35 for U.S. prime beef of the same size. The Japanese consumers, much like the consumers ArFB met in Korea two years ago, want U.S. beef because of its
high quality and lower cost than domestic beef. In late 2012, the Japanese market loosened its age restrictions on U.S. beef to 30 months and under, up from the previous restriction of 20 months and under. The 30-month restriction opens the Japanese market to roughly 95 percent of the beef marketed in the U.S. The loosening of this restriction is forecast to increase U.S. beef exports to more than $1 billion by the end of 2013. During the next few years, the U.S. market share is expected to return to a pre-BSE level of roughly 50 percent of the Japanese beef import market. The Japanese market is very important to U.S. beef producers as one Japanese beef importer is larger than all but four countries who buy U.S. beef. While liberalizing trade restrictions on age has helped boost U.S. exports, the Japanese maintain safeguard measures on beef imports to protect domestic production. These safeguards limit Japan’s quarterly beef imports by raising the tariff on beef from 35 percent to 50 percent when the import quota level is reached. These are issues the U.S. has an opportunity to address in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. TPP is a proposed trade agreement between the U.S., Japan and 10 other countries. Another issue ArFB officers focused on in Japan was the ban on Arkansas poultry due to the discovery of avian influenza earlier this year. The Japanese follow strict protocols that require poultry production to be monitored for 90 days before the market can reopen. The week before the group left, the Japanese reopened their market to Arkansas poultry. However, this was too late for our companies to be able to participate in Japan’s
biggest poultry consuming season. Sales for this season were lost to our largest competitor, Brazil. Our group stressed the importance of Japan reviewing these rules and reducing the monitoring period as U.S. protocols are enough and designed to ensure no infected product ever reaches the market. It is very important that we get Japan to change its rules as it is a trend setter for such regulations in Asia, meaning other Asian countries will typically follow Japan’s example. ArFB officers also visited with local rice producers and studied the domestic market. Domestic rice production in Japan is heavily subsidized, with roughly half of the average producer’s income coming from government support. Beyond direct government support, the rice industry is also supported by a large co-op system. This is not a cooperative like we think of in the U.S. Instead, this co-op provides financing, inputs, farm management, market to sell, marketing, branding and more. This co-op provides everything the producer needs to grow a crop or livestock. Much like in Korea, Japanese rice imports are limited to what it must import under the Minimum Market Access under the World Trade Organization.
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