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In Farm Bureau On the Farm STEM Participants Three Arkansans have been selected for American Farm Bureau Foundation’s On the Farm STEM professional development events in Fort Worth, Texas, (March 26-28); Philadelphia, Penn., (May 1618); and Portland, Ore., (May 23-25). The training is designed to bring science to life for participants with the help of American beef cattle ranchers, researchers, nutritionists and veterinarians. Sara Beth Johnson of Lonoke was selected for the Fort Worth event. Johnson works with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension as a service county extension agent and is a graduate of Arkansas Farm Bureau’s President’s Leadership Council. Cecilia Gray of Pottsville was selected for the Philidelphia events. Gray is a family consumer sciences teacher at Pottsville Public Schools.

County presidents and the ArFB state board traveled to Washington, D.C. March 5-7 for the Presidents’ Advocacy and Leadership Trip. During the trip, the group met with the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator Scott Pruitt (center). Members of the group asked Pruitt challenging questions on regulations important to Arkansas agriculture.

Jacqueline Smith of Decatur was selected for the Portland event. Smith is the director and federal program coordinator for the Decatur School District. She and her husband Devin are past winners in the YF&R Achievment Award. Nearly 350 applications were received for 40 spots in Fort Worth, 30 spots in Philadelphia and 40 spots in Portland. Applications closed Jan. 1 and participants

Benton County Farm Bureau recently made a Farmers Feeding Families donation. The $200 donation was received by Barbara Aquire (left) of Operation Reboot and was presented by Benton Co. FB Women’s Committee member Nikki Crawley (right).

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were notified of acceptance for the On the Farm STEM events. To see a full list of participants, visit bit.ly/onthefarmSTEM.

In Arkansas New LeadAR Class LeadAR welcomed 28 participants from 16 Arkansas counties as members of

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A Publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

March 9, 2018• Vol. 21, No. 5


Jason Davis, an application technologist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, led a free pesticide application workshop Feb. 28 at the Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart. Davis taught attendees about new regulations, movements of pesticides and variables impacting pesticide volatility.

Late February storms brought damaging winds and heavy rains that created flooding and other problems for farmers around the state . A possible tornado caused this destruction on two farms near Cherry Valley (Cross County), destroying one home and severely damaging grain bins, farm equipment, a farm office and other structures.

years. “I want people to understand that the steel industry was not off the cuff, ‘Hey let’s go after China.’ This is a result of years of bad actions by China. Folks say, ‘Well you don’t want to spark a trade war.’ I would argue that we’re already in a trade war and that maybe this is our first salvo in response to what China has been doing for many, many years,” said Crawford. “I think it’s appropriate for us to take some kind of action and I don’t think the steel industry wants to hurt its own domestic customers.”

While the industry has lost its world share of the market in recent decades and lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, Arkansas has had a good few years in the steel trade. Steel production in Arkansas has shot up 40 percent since 2009, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, with the investment of over a billion-dollars in state-of-the-art mills in Mississippi County. The industry employs about 5,500 direct jobs in Arkansas but as is the case throughout many advanced nations steel jobs are being lost not just because of competition abroad but because of revolutions in technology and mill modernization. The Big River Steel project near Osceola boasts of its use of artificial intelligence on its website. Crawford’s optimism on steel coincides with apprehension about the tariff from state agricultural leaders. The Republican House member spoke with members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau on Tuesday.

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Arkansas Steel & Arkansas Farming Agriculture officials in Arkansas are concerned President Trump’s steel tariff could have consequences that would negatively impact the industry. The administration has floated a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum But U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, who represents one of the nation’s highest steel producing counties along with some of the state’s most fertile Delta lands, says it’s time to take some action in a trade war he says China’s already been waging for

KEITH SUTTON photo

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Class 18. These participants will spend the next two years developing their leadership skills and gaining a better understanding of key economic and social issues facing Arkansas. The first of eight LeadAR seminars took place Feb. 7-10 in Little Rock. This seminar focused on leader development and legislative issues in Arkansas. In addition to the UA System Division of Agriculture, Class 18 is supported by the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Midsouth, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, many LeadAR alumni, individuals and organizations. To meet the new LeadAR class visit bit.ly/leadarclass18.

Larry Boccarossa, executive director of the Arkansas Timber Producers Association, was the keynote speaker Feb. 22 at the Veterans 4 Ag Summit on the University of ArkansasMonticello campus. Boccarossa and others on the program shared information that will help prepare military veterans for potential careers in forestry and ag fields.

Okolona cattleman Roy Britt (left) and Amy Simpson, staff chair of the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service survey receding floodwaters on Britt’s ranch Feb. 26. More than 10 inches of rain over several days caused the Little Missouri River to flood. River flooding from the Ouachita and Little Missouri Rivers impacted farms and ranches throughout south Arkansas.

Elsewhere Sen. Cochran retires U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, announced March 5 his intention to resign from the U.S. Senate effective April 1. “I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. I intend to fulfill my


Presidents’ Advocacy and Leadership Trip participants met with Senator Boozman and Tom Cotton, as well as Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman while in Washington, D.C.

Kyle Cunningham, Ph.D., assistant professor of Forestry with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, led a session on how to determine the value of trees during a timber marketing workshop Feb. 27 in Calhoun County. More than 100 private landowners attended the event. During the workshop they learned how to identify different tree species and market them to mills and wood products companies.

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Senate Subcommittee Advances A Senate Environment and Public Works subommittee on Thursday approved a Farm Bureau-supported measure that would exempt most farms and ranches from unnecessary reporting of routine air emissions from animals and their manure. Having secured bipartisan backing and facing a looming May 1 deadline, farmers and ranchers are optimistic the bill will continue to move successfully through Congress.

The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act (S. 2421) would clarify that normal emissions from farm animals and their manure are not reportable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which requires facilities to report releases of hazardous substances that exceed certain threshold quantities within a 24-hour period. Both the Bush and Obama administrations supported a rule exempting most farms from the need to report low-level emissions, but activist groups successfully blocked the rule last year at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court has stayed its April 2017 decision multiple times, with the latest stay slated to expire on May 1. “Congress did not intend to regulate farms as toxic Superfund sites,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall noted when the FARM Act was introduced last month. “Farming and ranching are challenging enough without having to report, under threat of law, something that is a routine part of raising animals, but is nearly impossible to predict or measure. We are also concerned that these needless reports would effectively create a federal database of livestock farms for activist groups to target.” The bill, introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), has 22 Republican and 12 Democratic co-sponsors.

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responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate. “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi. My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor.” Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He is the tenthlongest serving Senator in U.S. history. Cochran previously served three terms in House of Representatives.

Editor Maddison Stewart

maddison.stewart@arfb.com


In the Market As of March 8, 2018 Walmart’s new weapon Walmart is developing new technology, called Eden, that says it will save the company $2 billion over the next five years. Eden will inspect produce and determine when it will spoil. If temperatures rise during deliveries, reducing shelf life, the technology could reroute trucks to closer destinations. USDA authorizes ginning program The cotton ginning cost share program will be similar to the one for the 2015 crop in that it will be a one-time payment determined by a producer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to the Farm Service Agency, multiplied by 20 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region. Signup runs from March 12 to May 11. Trump wants studies for RFS changes A waiver of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) for E15 to allow sales of the higher ethanol blend year-round is emerging as a possible solution after three White House meetings last week on biofuels. Currently, E15 is restricted between June 1 and Sept. 15 because the EPA has found it contributes to summer smog pollution. But Senator Chuck Grassley acknowledged Thursday’s White House session yielded “no decisions.” Trump reportedly wants to see studies regarding the impacts of various options. Brazilian soybean estimates raised Brazil’s statistics agency Conab hiked its estimate of Brazil’s soybean crop by 1.47 MMT from February to 113.02 MMT, which would be just shy of last year’s record-large 114.08 MMT crop. On the other hand, Conab trimmed its total corn crop estimate by 720,000 MT to 87.28 MMT, which would be a dramatic cut from last year’s 97.84 MMT crop. It estimates Brazil’s first crop at 25.12 MMT and its second crop at 62.16 MMT. Agreement for tax incentives A final agreement on fixing a section (199A) of the new tax reform law that created huge financial incentives

for farmers to sell their products to agricultural cooperatives rather than independent elevators is being circulated among lawmakers and industry stakeholders, according to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). He said the legislative language needs to be cleared by key negotiators and will be publicly available soon. “I’m sure there is not 100 percent unanimous consent, but the organizations we are working with, both on the private grain elevator side and co-op side, have been involved in all of this. So I think we are about there,” Thune said. He expects the provision will be included in a fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations package, which Congress must pass by March 23 to avoid a government shutdown. Low-path avian influenza detected The first discovery of avian influenza in the U.S. in 2018 has been found in Jasper County, Missouri in a commercial turkey flock. The presumptive low-pathogenic H7N1 avian influenza was detected in a healthy commercial meat turkey, according to a notification from the Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The detection was made during routine, pre-slaughter testing and surveillance efforts, the OIE said. “There have been no clinical signs of illness or increased mortality on the premises,” the OIE said. USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation and have implemented enhanced surveillance and testing related to this finding, the OIE said. Two additional commercial poultry premises located within the 10-kilometer zone surrounding the initial find were tested negative for the virus. Secretary Perdue’s position on the metals tariffs USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has found a way to play both sides of the tariff debate, praising the president’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs as a good negotiating tactic while acknowledging that the agriculture sector could see adverse effects. “I plan to tell the president that he has them just where he wants them,’’ he said, adding that the tariffs have given the U.S. leverage to win concessions on steel and the North American Free Trade Agreement. “Let’s use this off-balance technique to extract what we would like in exchange whether it’s Mexico, Canada

or our EU partners,” Perdue said at a Wall Street Journal forum. But Perdue acknowledged Trump’s trade rhetoric and style is generating anxiety throughout the ag sector, one that relies on exports for an average of 20 cents of every dollar earned. Agricultural goods are often early targets when countries retaliate against the U.S., Perdue admitted. Trump wants $1 billion cut in U.S./ China trade deficit Trump is pushing for a $1-billion reduction in China’s trade deficit with the United States. “China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. In 2017, the deficit between Chinese goods imported to the U.S. and American goods exported to China reached $375.2 billion — an 8 percent jump from $347 billion in 2016.

CONTACT

Matt King 501-228-1297, matt.king@arfb.com

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Farm Bureau Press for March 9  

Read the latest issue of the Farm Bureau press to see highlights from the Presidents' Advocacy and Leadership Trip and to read about the lat...

Farm Bureau Press for March 9  

Read the latest issue of the Farm Bureau press to see highlights from the Presidents' Advocacy and Leadership Trip and to read about the lat...