Page 1

Winter 2014

Combating Grain Bin Wire


I n s tal l an e l e c tron i c “ sn it ch ”

New Ag Hall of Fame class

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Winter 2014


VOLUME 11 Issue 1









Combating grain bin wire theft by Steve Eddington Ag Hall of Fame inductees by Bricen Pace








Farm Bureau Perspective by Randy Veach Faces of Agriculture — Sunni Wise by Gregg Patterson Policy Update by Michelle Kitchens New State Board Member Profiles — Thrash and Felts add talents by Bricen Pace Rural Reflections Photo On the cover — Metal theft, particularly copper wire, continues to be a problem on farms. Three Lonoke County farmers have teamed up to help curb it at grain bin facilities. The article begins on page 4.

4 12

Executive Editor: Steve Eddington Editor: Gregg Patterson Contributing Writers: Ken Moore, Keith Sutton, Chris Wilson Research Assistant: Brenda Gregory

3 18 22 26 28

Farm Bureau

Arkansas Agriculture


is an official publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Arkansas Agriculture is distributed to almost 42,000 farming and ranching households in Arkansas. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Included in membership dues. Arkansas Farm Bureau Officers: President Randy Veach Manila Vice President Rich Hillman Carlisle Secretary/Treasurer Joe Christian Jonesboro Executive Vice President Rodney Baker Little Rock Directors: Troy Buck, Alpine Jon Carroll, Moro Joe Christian, Jonesboro Terry Dabbs, Stuttgart Sherry Felts, Joiner Mike Freeze, England Bruce Jackson, Lockesburg Tom Jones, Pottsville Johnny Loftin, El Dorado Gene Pharr, Lincoln Rusty Smith, Des Arc Allen Stewart, Mena Leo Sutterfield, Mountain View Joe Thrash, Conway Ex Officio Josh Cureton, Jonesboro Brent Lassiter, Newport Janice Marsh, McCrory

by Randy Veach, President Arkansas Farm Bureau


We’ve talked about the need for a new farm bill for so long that my personal opinion

of the “farm bill” has encompassed a full set of emotions, including anger, despair, disgust, anxiety, concern, and – finally – relief. President Obama has signed a new five-year farm bill, cobbled together by a conference

committee from the vastly different bills passed in 2013 by the House and Senate. I want to thank those members of the Arkansas delegation who voted for passage. They understand sustainable agriculture can only be achieved if long-term stability and profitability are part of the equation. Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas were among the conferees who worked diligently to bring about a compromise bill. This is far from a perfect bill, with many of the historic safety net programs used in the Midsouth now removed. But, frankly, the certainty of the new legislation is needed for our farmers and ranchers. Having a five-year program, as opposed to year-by-year or ad-hoc programs, was imperative, particularly as we go about making planting and livestock decisions for the coming year. The farm bill continues to be attacked from those unfamiliar with its general purpose. You, in fact, may have been asked to defend the programs. In a nutshell, the purpose of federal farm policy is to help ensure the availability and safety of the United States’ food supply. It does that by helping farmers and ranchers ride the uncertainties of world market forces, weather and government intervention. Bringing stability to the farm helps ensure production capacity remains in place and dulls some of the risk farmers and ranchers routinely face. The federal farm bill is not something we should be ashamed of but something we

Arkansas Agriculture is published quarterly by the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, 10720 Kanis Road, Little Rock, AR 72211. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Arkansas Agriculture, P.O. Box 31, Little Rock, AR 72203. Issue #32.

should be happy to defend and explain to those who question its value and purpose.

Publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

Those direct payments were crucial for many Midsouth farmers, particularly those who rely

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation reserves the right to accept or reject all advertising requests. Send comments to:

There are several things of note included in the 2014 farm bill, including more than $7 billion for livestock producers through conservation (EQIP, etc.), disaster and grazing programs. The new legislation expands federal crop insurance and eliminates direct payments. heavily on irrigation. We see an opportunity to work with USDA’s Risk Management Agency to develop a crop-insurance program that will work for irrigated crops. As it stands now, the expansion of crop insurance doesn’t help the majority of Midsouth row-crop farmers. The proposed reference prices in this farm bill won’t replace the safety net that direct payments provided, but at least it will help. We are pleased the legislation preserves the farm bill’s permanent law tenets. It also maintains the historic connection between commodity and nutrition programs. These were issues for which Farm Bureau worked diligently to include in the legislation. We believe the linking of the commodity and nutrition programs is natural, and obvious, where the production of food and the feeding of those in need are appropriately connected. Created by Publishing Concepts, Inc. David Brown, President • For Advertising info contact Tom Kennedy • 1-800-561-4686 Edition 32

Farmers make a living adapting to changes, whether they are market forces, improvements in technology or weather. We’ll have to adjust to this new farm bill, for sure. But I believe in the resourcefulness of our farmers and ranchers. God bless you and your families. God bless the farmers and ranchers. And God bless Farm Bureau.


Arkansas Agriculture


Local far mers create

device to combat wire thef t

System notifies owners when wires cut, electrical system compromised by Steve Eddington


Arkansas Agriculture


Faced with a copper wire theft epidemic on grain bin

facilities, three Lonoke County farmers have uncovered, and are now marketing, a theft detection system they believe will yield dramatic results in the fight against wire theft. Farmers Scott Mitchell, Matt Schafer and Jerry Kelly were

each victims of copper theft on their grain bin facilities – Kelly several times. They tried to think of ways to thwart the thieves who had figured out how to beat camera monitoring systems and other theft deterrents. They also spoke to law enforcement to understand their rights and limitations in protecting their property. Schafer went as far as staking out his farm at night. “I’d have dinner, put the kids to bed and get out there about midnight,” Schaefer recalled. “I had the perfect spot at a crossroads on our farm, where I could see anyone coming or going in any direction.” He says he had the sheriff department’s number programmed into his phone in one hand and a gun in his other hand for protection. Problem was, after a long day on the farm, Schaefer kept falling asleep. “I’d wake up and say ‘where the heck am I?’ So I’m telling myself ‘this isn’t fun, it’s probably not very safe, either.’ Finally, I told myself ‘I’m not doing this anymore,’” he said. “But I knew there had to be something out there – some sort of technology – that could help us with this problem.” In the darkness of one of those stakeout nights last May, Schafer reached for a piece of technology he had with him, an iPad, and typed into the search bar how to stop copper wire theft, agriculture. What popped up in the returns ultimately led him, Mitchell and Kelly to the technology they’ve now incorporated into a product they call BinSnitch.

Arkansas Agriculture


An Indiana-based company named Net Irrigate had already created a wireless irrigation monitoring system that included the ability to notify owners when copper wiring was cut on centerpivot irrigation systems. Seeing an opportunity to transfer that technology to their problem with copper wire theft on grain bin systems, Schaefer and Mitchell began a series of conversations with the owners of Net Irrigate. After several months of discussion and a visit to Arkansas, Net Irrigate’s general manager, Edward DeSalle, came up with system tweaks that would allow deployment of his technology in a grain bin environment. “If you cut a wire or in any way break a connection, the BinSnitch immediately sends notice,” said Mitchell, who was the first to have the system installed on his grain bins last July. “It sends notice out to 10 different numbers through a cell phone connection.” Mitchell says it logs the GPS coordinates where the device is located and sends out an email, text or voicemail message. “You can program your home number, your cell number, the sheriff’s office, your neighbor, your farm help, whoever,” he said. “Any number you program into it. “We think this can be a big help to law enforcement. We want the copper thieves to know there is a deterrent that wasn’t there before.” Mitchell says the thought of those who engage in metal theft is

Steve Eddington

an irritant to his sensibilities.


Arkansas Agriculture

Build a better mousetrap (from left to right) Farmers Jerry Kelly, Matt Schafer and Scott Mitchell teamed with Edward DeSalle to develop the BinSnitch system to help thwart copper wire theft at grain bin sites.


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“You know, I’ve got to get up every day, I’ve got to put a crop in, I’ve got to get a crop out, and I’ve got a family I want to see. I do those things, because it’s the life I’ve chosen,” he said. “But it’s not right for a guy to take the wire out of my bins, take it to a scrap yard and get paid in cash and not pay taxes on it. This guy doesn’t have a real job, doesn’t have to pass a drug test, and the next thing he does is wait until I fix the wiring in my grain bins and then hits me again. I don’t like a copper thief.” Kelly, who runs a law practice in Carlisle and continues to direct, along with his brother, the family’s farming operation, understands the difficulty in getting a conviction in metal theft cases. “I’ve been a special prosecutor. I’ve been a judge, and I practice law,” Kelly said. “I know what it takes to bring about prosecution. And that’s not easy (with this type of theft), and there’s good reason for that.” He says just having a photo of someone at your grain bins doesn’t automatically mean a conviction. “You have to prove a person is guilty of a criminal act beyond a reasonable doubt. With the epidemic of metal theft we have, the police are getting a bad rap for not catching these people, but they’re just as frustrated as anyone,” Kelly said. “They’re tired of pulling up and seeing the plastic clippings from the wire casing that has been cut and having a mad landowner, because they haven’t caught somebody. They know they

Wire theft The amount of copper wire used at grain bin sites along with the sites’ remote but accessible setups make them targets for thieves.


Arkansas Agriculture

Keith Sutton

need something more.”



870.477.5427 | |

Arkansas Agriculture


Keith Sutton

More than pictures It can take more than photos of thieves to successfully get a conviction for wire theft. The BinSnitch system can alert farm owners and law enforcement when a theft is in progress, raising the chances that thieves are caught in the act.

Kelly says they knew Farm Bureau had worked in the legislature last session to get more teeth in metal

pictures of people hauling off your

something that took the control out


of the thieves’ hands.”

“First off, we want to help the

The BinSnitch system is available

theft laws with only minimal success.

farmer. I cannot stand to think there

for $2,750 per unit. There are no

“We were concerned that our law

are people out there sitting up at

monthly monitoring fees, and the

enforcement didn’t have the tools

night to guard their grain bins,”

system operates on a battery with

needed to really impact metal theft,”

Mitchell said. “When that happens,

a three- to five-year power supply.

he said.

the cost of repair is far more

Mitchell says they’ve installed dozens

expensive than the wire that’s been

of units across Arkansas, with the

stolen. It’s devastating.

ability to go nationwide with the

They believe the BinSnitch system can help both the farmer and law enforcement.

“We’ve got enough sense to know

product. Those interested in finding

there’s going to come a time when

out more about the BinSnitch should

many of these BinSnitch devices can

Farm Bureau says it can’t afford to

contact AgSecure at 105 Park Street,

we get out there to stop this metal

insure your bins anymore or the cost

Suite B, Carlisle, AR 72024, or by

theft?” Mitchell said. “We believe

of that insurance is going to get so

calling (870) 552-5000.

this is going to help. You can get

high we can’t afford it,” Mitchell

cameras. But cameras are going to get

said. “We knew we had to do

“We want to make this work. How


Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas Farm Bureau paid claims in excess of $1 million for copper-

theft losses on grain bins, irrigation

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equipment and farm buildings in 2013, with losses exceeding $2 million during the past three years. Nationally, Net Irrigate estimates wire theft accounted for more than $1 billion dollars in losses in 2013. As a way to counter some of those losses, Arkansas Farm Bureau will waive an insured’s deductible up to $1,000 on claims where a copper theft loss occurs and BinSnitch was properly installed at the time of the loss. this can bring to a farmer, you can’t put a dollar value on that,” Kelly said. “One thing I know, these copper thieves are sort of like lightning. You know they’re going to hit, but you don’t know when, “At least now, with BinSnitch, you’ve got a fighting chance with the thieves.”


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Arkansas Agriculture


Ag Hall of Fame inductees New group to be honored


by Bricen Pace

Berry made sure President Clinton

Louisiana State University and

Fame will induct six individuals

was well versed on agricultural issues

a master’s in forestry from Yale

whose leadership and service have

affecting Arkansas and the rest of


brought distinction to Arkansas

the country. His efforts resulted in

In the 1950s, Darling was a

agriculture, the state’s largest industry.

policy implementation promoting

young forester working for the

agriculture, trade and rural

Fordyce Lumber Company where


he pioneered the first landowner

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of

The group will be honored at the

26th annual induction luncheon, 11:30 a.m., March 7 in the

assistance program, a new

to the United States House of

innovation in the forest industry at

Embassy Suites Hotel. Luncheon

Representatives for Arkansas’ 1st

the time. This program combined a

tickets are $35 each and are available

Congressional District, winning by

forester’s knowledge with landowners

by calling (501) 228-1470 or email

a small margin. But in the next six

struggling to make ends meet

elections, Berry would win with close

following the Great Depression and

to two-thirds of the vote or more.

World War II. The program helped

During this time, he was a major

farmers generate a supplemental

R. Marion Berry

advocate for lifting the trade ban on

income from their farm woodlots

earning a

Cuba, so Arkansas rice farmers could

through scientifically based forest


regain trade opportunities. Berry was

management and improve the value

degree from

a member of multiple committees

of their property while improving

the University

and a champion for agriculture

the forestland’s health and

of Arkansas, R.

throughout his House tenure; among


Marion Berry,

those being on the House Agriculture

71, always has

Committee, where he helped write

Fordyce Lumber Company, Darling

had farming

the 2002 farm bill. Berry served in

continued his landowner assistance

Congress until 2011.

efforts, further expanding the


in his blood and used practices

When Georgia-Pacific bought the

learned on the farm to become

program. At the peak of Darling’s

an influential political figure in

career, he was responsible for

Arkansas agriculture. The Arkansas

managing 3 million acres of Georgia-

County rice and soybean farmer from Gillett would eventually travel to Washington, D.C. to promote agriculture worldwide.

O.H. “Doogie” Darling O.H. “Doogie”

Pacific timberland, delivering wood to 28 forest production mills in eight states. After retiring from Georgia-Pacific,

Darling, 85,

Darling served on the Deltic Timber

Berry to the Arkansas Soil and Water

of Crossett, is

Corporation’s Board of Directors for

Conservation Commission where

a well-known

12 years. Darling has been a member

he served from 1986 to 1994. When

name in forestry

of the Arkansas Forestry Association

Clinton won the White House, he

in southern

for almost 50 years and served as its

brought Berry to Washington with


president in 1988 to 1989. He is also

him, appointing him as his special

Darling earned

a member of the Arkansas Foresters’

Governor Bill Clinton appointed


In 1996, Berry won election

Ambassador Ballroom of Little Rock’s

assistant for Agricultural Trade and

his forestry technician certificate

Hall of Fame and mentored many

Food Assistance, and as a presidential

from Arkansas A&M College (now

young foresters throughout the state.

advisor on the White House

the University of Arkansas at

Domestic Policy Council during

Monticello). He went on to earn a

Clinton’s first term. In these roles,

bachelor’s degree in forestry from

Arkansas Agriculture

Ruben H. Johnson

and securing a $904,000 grant to

farming his best rice ground year

study broiler production. As a result

after year. He also pioneered zero-

graduating from

of that grant, four broiler houses

grading of rice fields when he

the University

were constructed in Savoy for broiler

noticed how long it took for water

of Arkansas


to drain from a traditional sloped


in 1955 with

Johnson retired in 1988 and

contour levee system. Zero-grading

a degree in

moved to Magazine where he uses

allowed the field to drain water

animal science,

his Extension experience to obtain

quicker in four directions rather than

Ruben H.

grants for local organizations, such as

the one sloped direction found in

Johnson joined

the Magazine Rural Fire Department,

a traditional rice levee system. This

the University

Booneville Development Corporation

led to extensive water conservation

of Arkansas Cooperative Extension

and the town of Magazine. He’s a

benefits. Isbell and his sons were the

Service as associate county agent in

Korean War veteran and retired from

first to do this in Arkansas.

Washington County. While Johnson,

the Arkansas Army National Guard as

now 83, began his career at the local

a colonel in 1984.

It took a trip to California by Isbell’s son, Chris, to get involved

level, he quickly was promoted to

in another rice-growing innovation.

the state office after two years.

Chris met a Japanese man, who claimed that Koshihikari, a Japanese

While in Washington County, Johnson started the 4-H pullet chain funded by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation. His work with poultry

Leroy Isbell

rice variety, couldn’t be farmed outside of Japan. Father and son With

took on the challenge, successfully

in Washington County led to his

innovations in

cultivating the Japanese variety and

promotion to UACES Poultryman in

the rice industry

taking it to market in the U.S. and

1957. Johnson’s accomplishments

never before

eventually Japan when it opened

included his educational work on


trade for rice imports.

broiler production and the initiation

by anyone in

of some of the earliest work on

Arkansas or

to his family farm wanting to

proper use of poultry litter.

the U.S., Leroy

improve their own rice-growing.

Isbell, 89, of

The Isbell family is well respected

After working as poultryman for

Isbell’s successes bring visitors

seven years, Johnson was promoted

England, pioneered methods making

and recognizable in Japan where

to two divisional positions for the

his name internationally recognized.

the family’s picture adorns the rice

Southwest District: district resource

Isbell’s innovations during a 55-year

products it sells there.

development specialist (1964-70)

career are widely accepted today.

and district agent (1970-75). In

Isbell first learned about rice

1975, Johnson became UACES State

farming from GI bill classes he

Leader for Agriculture where he had

attended after leaving the Navy. He

administrative responsibility for

began with 40 acres, paying for the

35 counties. Under his leadership,

first crop with his GI bill paycheck.

specialists and agents increased

In1959, Isbell purchased 900 acres

in agricultural

educational programs, such as

— then in use for fish production —

practices are

research verification programs in

and modified it for rice.

necessary for

various commodities. With the latest

Isbell rebelled against the

Keith Lusby Innovations


research available, production yields

common rice-growing practices like

and livestock

increased and production costs

rotating rice crops in fields to lessen

production to


the impact of red rice problems.

grow. Moreover,

Johnson’s major accomplishments

He found that by water seeding his

the methods and

were his appointment to the position

rice crops, he controlled red rice

facilities used in educating students

of UACES Acting Director in 1981

problems so well he could continue

should be innovative, too. Keith

Arkansas Arkansas Agriculture Agriculture

13 13

S. Lusby, 66, of Fayetteville, who earned an animal science doctorate degree at Oklahoma State University, returned to Arkansas after 19 years in extension, research and teaching at OSU to lead the University of Arkansas’ Department of Animal

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Science. During his UA tenure, Dr. Lusby built the animal science department into a national powerhouse with rebuilding and renovation projects that increased jobs, graduates and educational standards. More than $10 million in facilities construction and improvements included the building of the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center and the Dorothy E. King Equine Pavilion, as well as complete renovation of research facilities at Fayetteville and rebuilding the research station


at Batesville. The Animal Science Building was also renovated. New scholarship endowments were added to support an intense effort to increase enrollment. With new scholarship endowments increasing

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more than $850,000, undergraduate enrollment increased from 85 to more than 200. To support the increased enrollment, 12 new positions were created for research, teaching and extension. In the effort to excell, Dr. Lusby made decisions that would benefit future students. Lusby closed two dairies and the bull test program, which shifted research away from large beef herds to a diversified mix of swine, beef cows, stocker, feeders, dairy replacement heifers and horses. Dr. Lusby is an active member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and Foundation where he was

Clay Elder 501-454-8855

Providing Well and Pump Service for over 30 Years 14

Arkansas Agriculture

awarded the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association Producer Education Award in 2013.

J. Keith Smith Taking a oneroom feed store with an incubator and turning it into a multi-million dollar business, the late J. Keith Smith of Hot Springs, pioneered

Arkansas Women in Agriculture 2014 Conference, March 13—14 (Op onal Tour - March 12)

Riverfront Wyndham, North Li le Rock

the development of the broiler industry in southern and eastern Arkansas. Keith

For complete conference details,

Smith Company, Inc. was among the first multifunction corporations in the broiler industry before it became the standard. Smith put together a hatchery, broiler parent stock, feed milling and live growout to provide product to some of the first commercial processing plants built in the southern and eastern parts of the state. During the early years of the Arkansas poultry business, Smith provided broiler chicks, live broilers and broiler hatching eggs to companies, allowing them to focus on other operations beyond the initial stage of chick production. This provided stability and growth for the poultry industry. Now, 38,000 Arkansans are employed by the poultry industry, and it contributes more than $3.3 billion dollars to the state’s economy. Smith helped provide parent stock for the central U.S. that would produce hundreds of millions of broilers. As a result, Smith is credited with aiding in the development of the emerging markets of products like range-fed, organic, Amishgrown and kosher chickens. His company also provided hatching eggs for export



I talk with millennials on Facebook about beef’s benefits? “Our beef checkoff has invested in market research to better understand millennials — those consumers between the ages of 20 and 34 and now the largest generation. Most millennials gather their information through their smartphones or tablets, so our beef checkoff promotion efforts are adjusting to engage this generation of beef eaters.” While you and Kim are managing your operations, your checkoff is reaching this technology-savvy generation of consumers through all types of social and online media.

markets, allowing poultry company expansion into Latin America. Smith went to great lengths to assist

K i m Bra ck ett Cow-calf producer

employees, customers and members of the community if they were having difficulties. Smith also helped with Arkansas Foodbank, Starting Over Ministries, and World Vision. Smith founded the Keith Smith Company,

Inc. in 1948. He remained CEO until 1981 when he appointed his son, James Keith Smith, II, as president.


Funded by the Beef Checkoff.

Arkansas Agriculture



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call 1-866-292-7822 Arkansas Farm Bureau Purchase Program 3 Easy Steps for Farm Bureau Members

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Step 2: Members email the product number(s) to Farm Bureau’s designated contact at Sears Appliance Select : for a quote. To receive this pricing a member must include their Farm Bureau membership number and Farm Bureau discount code CU098430 in the email. Step 3: Members can then use a credit card to purchase the discounted item and it will be delivered via a custom freight company.

Have your Farm Bureau membership number and discount code CUO88430 in your email, or ready if calling. All manufacturer warranties apply with the option to purchase extended Sears Protection Agreements. Installation is not included with delivery.

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Every Seed. Every Field. Every Farmer Counts.

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Arkansas Agriculture


Faces of Agriculture

Sunni Wise All about ag by Gregg Patterson


Sunni Wise, 18, is young,

vivacious and all about ag. The Southern Arkansas University freshman is majoring in agriculture education. She’s also fully immersed this school year in ag issues as the 2013-14 state secretary for FFA. For Sunni Wise, it’s all about ag; strange, coming from a girl who didn’t grow up on a farm or get interested in agriculture until high school. The ag bug bit the Bismarck High Keith Sutton

School graduate in ninth grade. “I signed up for my first ag class, because some of my friends were showing goats. I thought that was really cool,” Wise said.

All ag to the bone Sunni Wise is completing her freshman year at Southern Arkansas University. The agriculture major is busy with school work, as well as her duties as FFA grade, and I absolutely fell in love Secretary/Treasurer. “I didn’t show a goat until 10th with all of it.” She showed goats the rest of high

“Sunni, I think you’d make a great ag

intelligently about agriculture issues.

school and got involved with FFA. “I

education teacher.” She says she brushed

“Farm Bureau is an asset to FFA but

found my passion. No matter where you

it off, but then got to thinking seriously

just like FFA, Farm Bureau is only as strong

come from or what you do, you can be

about it.

as its members are,” Wise said. “So Farm

something, be who you want to be and

“My entire life I wanted to work with

Bureau can look to FFA, and FFA can

work toward success in the FFA,” Wise

animals, which would be an ag teacher. I

look to Farm Bureau for strength. They’re

said. “You don’t have to be a farmer or a

wanted to work with kids, which would

beneficial to each other like a symbiotic

scientist who’s going to create the next

be an ag teacher,” she said. “And I wanted

relationship, and the result is both are

generation of soybeans to feed the world.

to make a difference. What other job can

helping the agriculture industry.”

You can just be you and bring what you

you have to make a difference in the lives

have to the table. And I like the aspect of

of people to help build them up into the

agriculture, that’s what Sunni Wise is all

being in the FFA, and I like that you can

people they want to be?”

about. She says her FFA experience has

make a difference in the field of agriculture no matter what you’re doing.” Originally, Sunni thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. Then she realized that wasn’t it. She wanted to be around

Helping spread the good word about

It was then she knew she was going

even helped her teach her family about ag.

to be an ag teacher. “I’m really interested

She’s even managed to get her 14-year-old

in Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom

brother interested in agriculture.

program,” she said. Through FFA, she’s become familiar

“My little brother, Baylen, sent me a text recently ‘Sister I joined ag’ when he

animals, she wanted to help people,

with Arkansas Farm Bureau. Sunni was

joined FFA,” Wise said. “He’s 14 now and

and she wanted to make a difference. In

a Discussion Meet winner while in high

has wanted to be a farmer since he was 12.

eleventh grade, her ag teacher told her,

school, proof of her skill in speaking

How cool is that?”


Arkansas Agriculture


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Arkansas Agriculture

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Arkansas Agriculture


Policy Update Take advantage of ag tax cuts Certify now by Michelle Kitchens


During the 2013 legislative session,

the Arkansas General Assembly passed several tax cuts for agriculture. The legislature is to be commended for their attention to the state’s largest industry and the farmers who live in their districts. The diverse tax cut package included something for almost all segments of agriculture, from cattlemen to forestry. The largest agriculture tax cut was Act 1441 championed by Reps. Jeff Wardlaw of Warren and Jon Eubanks of Paris and Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville. The bill had enormous bipartisan support, with more than 80

exclusively serve the agriculture purpose

collecting taxes and will not apply the

legislators cosponsoring the bill. Act

or they aren’t eligible. If you don’t

exemption without proper certification.

1441 created a sales tax exemption for

already have the necessary certification

electricity, propane and natural gas used

form, download it from the Arkansas

big savings. Next time you see your

in poultry, cattle, dairy, horticulture,

Farm Bureau website,, or

legislator, thank them for making this

swine and aquaculture facilities and

if you don’t have access to the Internet,

exemption possible. It’s important to

operations. That exemption took

contact Farm Bureau at 501-228-1229 or

let them know farmers appreciate their

effect on Jan. 1, and sign up for the

visit your local Farm Bureau office.

support. A similar exemption (Act 1401

exemption is ongoing. Act 1441 will

Farmers will need their meter and

It’s a simple process that leads to

by Sen. Dismang) for grain drying and

save farmers approximately $11 million

tank numbers, the physical location

storage will take effect on July 1. Those

annually. Economists estimate poultry

of the farm where the utilities are

meters will need to be certified through

farms will save about $600 per house

delivered, some tax identification

a similar process this spring.

per year.

information and your NAICS code. After

These tax cuts happened through the

the Arkansas Department of Finance and

efforts of our farmers who let legislators

for this exemption, you’ll need to

Administration receives the completed

know the legislation was important and

certify your meter and propane

forms, they’ll mail an official certificate

legislators who listened and kept the

tanks with the state. This is a simple

that indicates your farm is eligible for

pressure up at the capitol. In a time when

process and prevents people from

the exemption. Share copies of this

many are down on elected officials, it’s

claiming the exemption when they

certificate with all your utility providers.

good to be able to say thanks for the

aren’t eligible. Tanks or meters must

Those providers are responsible for

many good things they do.

If you think your farm is eligible


Arkansas Agriculture


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Arkansas Agriculture


Right there with you. Updated phone & tablet apps allow you to take our farm friendly resources practically anywhere.

z News

z Member Benefits

With access to farm and food news from around the world, being an informed Arkansas Farm Bureau member is easier than ever.

Handy access to ID numbers and everything else you need to take advantage of our ValuePlus savings.


z Government z Weather

The latest developments on policy debates that affect our nation’s food security. Coming soon: A legislator and agency database with quick-contact functionality.

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Arkansas Agriculture


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Conditions change. From weather, to soil, to technology, you have a lot to keep up with. Thankfully, you’ve got real insurance that keeps up with you. If there’s anything you need to know, just call us. You’ll always have questions. Your Farm Bureau agent always has answers.

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Arkansas Agriculture


New Board Member Profiles New board members elected Thrash and Felts add talents by Bricen Pace


Joe Carroll Thrash, 47, of

Conway and Sherry Wren Felts, 53, of Joiner are the newest members on Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors. The two were elected on Dec. 6, 2013 during Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 79th Annual

Convention. Thrash joined Arkansas Farm Bureau in 1989. A thirdhis farming operation in 1989 specializing in rice, soybeans, wheat and corn. Thrash followed his father to Farm Bureau. His father, Carroll,

Joe Thrash

Keith Sutton

Keith Sutton

generation farmer, he started

Sherry Felts

served on the Faulkner County Farm Bureau board. “The opportunity to represent and serve my fellow farmers was a major

was also active on the Membership

father. The Felts family was awarded the

Committee in 2013.

Mississippi County Farm Family of the

Outside of Arkansas Farm Bureau,

Year award in 2001. Felts’ service within Farm Bureau

motivation to serve on the Arkansas Farm

Thrash has been a member of the

Bureau state board,” Thrash said. “I’m

Arkansas Soybean Association for 14

includes serving in Mississippi County

honored to be a part of the long history

years where he was elected to the

as vice chair of the Women’s Committee

of Arkansas Farm Bureau, looking out for

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board in

from 2006 to 2007, and she has chaired

the interests of agriculture statewide.”

2013. Thrash is a member of the Faulkner

the county Women’s Committee since

Before being elected to the state

County 4-H Foundation. He and his wife,

2008. Felts worked for the state Rural

board, Thrash held positions at the

Renee’, have four children, Benjamin,

Health & Safety Committee in 2010 and

county level and worked on committees

Austin, Kate and Anna. He farms 1,050

has been vice chair of the state Women’s

at the county and state levels. Thrash

acres. Thrash enjoys trout fishing and

Committee since 2012.

became president of Faulkner County

hunting for deer and ducks.

Farm Bureau in 2001 and also served

Felts joined Arkansas Farm Bureau in

“There is a long, rich history of Arkansas Farm Bureau in Mississippi

as president from 2008 to 2010. Thrash

1980. A second-generation farmer, Felts

County,” Felts said. “I’m proud to be a

was part of the state Young Farmers

began farming in 1980 specializing in

part of it, and I look forward to doing

& Ranchers Committee in 2000 and

rice, soybeans, wheat, cotton and milo.

what Farm Bureau does best, being an

the Resolutions Committee from 2010

Felts farms 2,000 acres with her husband,

advocate for and serving the interests of

to 2013. In Faulkner County, Thrash

Benton, her son, Wren, and Benton’s

agriculture throughout Arkansas.”


Arkansas Agriculture



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GROWING LEADERS Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the U of A improve the lives of families across our state and nation, and around the world. Our future is tied to the businesses of foods and agriculture. Congratulations to Ewell Welch, former AFB Executive Vice President, on his recent retirement and congratulations to Rodney Baker on his recent appointment to AFB Executive Vice President. The Bumpers College grows leaders of today and tomorrow.

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Ewell Welch

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12/2/13 Arkansas Agriculture


8:46 AM


Icy lace Ice from a February storm covers the trees, creating a lace-like look, on a hillside above this horse pasture near Lonsdale. Photo by Keith Sutton.


Arkansas Agriculture

Committed. Strong. reliAble. truSted. member-owned. Farm Credit’s more than 10,000 customer-owners across Arkansas include rural home owners, row crop farmers, livestock operations, local food farmers, and full and part-time farmers. With $2.8 billion in assets, Arkansas Farm Credit associations serve agriculture, our communities and the rural lifestyle. Members enjoy unique benefits like patronage refunds totaling more than $122 million since 1997. Are you Farm Credit?


Arkansas Agriculture


Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Little Rock, AR Permit No. 1884

Grow Your Ag Business with Farm Bureau Bank Purchase or refinance the agricultural equipment you need today to grow your business for the future. Plus, take advantage of your membership with dedicated service, special rates, flexible terms and payment plans up to seven full years. We make financing easy!

Contact your local Arkansas Farm Bureau agent or visit Existing Farm Bureau Bank loans are excluded from this offer. *Rate disclosed as Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and based on exceptional credit. Some restrictions may apply based upon the make and model of equipment offered as collateral. Up to 90% financing for new and 85% for used equipment. Loans subject to credit approval. Rates are accurate as of 09/13/13. Rates and financing are limited to farm equipment model years 2003 or newer and are subject to change without notice. A down payment may be required for new or used equipment purchases. Financial information required for loan requests over $50,000. Commercial vehicles and trailers may be subject to an additional documentation fee. Farm Bureau Bank does not provide equity or cash-out financing on commercial vehicles and equipment. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by, and used by Farm Bureau Bank FSB under license from, the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Arkansas Agriculture - Winter 2014  
Arkansas Agriculture - Winter 2014  

Farm Bureau Perspective - Farm Bill; Local farmers create device to combat wire theft; Ag Hall of Fame inductees; Faces of Agriculture-Sunni...