KASU

agriculture

Arkansas soybean farmers who rely on a chemical called Dicamba to kill weeds must stop using it during the growing season next year. That’s because it has allegedly been drifting to neighboring farms and killing crops.

On the eve of a major decision by the state over the controversial weed killer dicamba, tensions are running high in Arkansas’s farming communities.

“This is probably the most divisive the agricultural community has ever been,” said Shawn Peebles, an organic farmer in Augusta. 

Peebles said he hasn’t personally sustained damage from dicamba drift but he is experiencing issues with companies no longer wanting to do business with Arkansas growers due to concerns about residue from the weed killer.  

The Saint Louis-based company that makes dicamba is responding to a proposed ban on the high-tech weed killer for the 2018 growing season.

Ty Vaughn, global regulatory vice president for Monsanto, said the company is disappointed and troubled by a vote from the state plant board to pursue a ban on farm applications of dicamba after April 15.  Vaughn said dicamba is being used successfully in other states.

“We’ve seen growers in 33 states over the past year have really good success with our system.  Our main goal here is to allow growers in Arkansas to have the same access,” said Vaughn.

This is the 6:04 KASU newscast for Monday, September 25th.  

Here are the stories reported this morning:

At the ranch on County Road 766 in Jonesboro, a pretty silvery-white calf born just three days earlier was happily playing and running around on a field. He’s one of the newest members of Arkansas’s collective herd, population 1.75 million.

“The last bull we bought cost $3,600, and he’s a good bull, but probably the next one we buy will be higher than that.  You have to look for traits that will improve the calves that you already have,” said rancher Eric Grant. 

There’s a dent in the fence from when a massive bull tried to hurl himself through it to get to a cow.  The bull seems to have an uncanny sense for when a cow is in heat even several fields away, Grant said.

This is the 6:04 KASU newscast for Wednesday, September 13th.  Here are the headlines reported this morning:

Economy
Pixabay

Despite slow growth in the beginning of 2017, the economy is expected to be stronger for states in the Mid-West and Plains, which includes Arkansas and Missouri.  That's according to a recent Creighton University economy report

One person in Arkansas has been paying close attention to the state's economy—the Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Mike Preston. 

Arkansas legislators on Friday allowed a prohibition on the sale and use of dicamba to take effect. The Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council took no action on the proposed 120-day ban, a decision that upholds a ruling made last month by the Arkansas Plant Board. The ban will officially go into effect Tuesday at 12:01am unless members of the council move to reverse it.

Two weeks ago, in a remarkable move, the State Plant Board of Arkansas voted to ban the sale and use of a weedkiller called dicamba. It took that action after a wave of complaints about dicamba drifting into neighboring fields and damaging other crops, especially soybeans.

That ban is still waiting to go into force. It requires approval from a committee of the state legislature, which will meet on Friday.

CLARIFICATION: Michele Reba is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Delta Water Management Research Unit. Her affiliation was misrepresented in an earlier version of this story.

Four Arkansas farms have made a deal with the world’s largest software maker, Microsoft. The Whitaker Farms in McGehee, Isbell Farm in Stuttgart, Hooks Family Farm in Hazen and Florenden Farms in Burdette join two farms in California and one in Mississippi as the first recipients of carbon credits for rice production. 

The program rewards farmers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from rice, considered among the more environmentally damaging of all crops.  With a carbon credit, companies can exceed emissions caps by paying for reductions elsewhere, such as on a farm. 

This week the Arkansas Legislative Council may decide whether to approve a 120-day ban on the sale and use of the herbicide dicamba.

The interests of Arkansas’s agricultural leaders went unheralded by President Trump on Friday as he announced a move back toward Cold War relations with our Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. Much of the state’s Congressional delegation has also chimed in on the prospect of tougher relations as a move in the wrong direction.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau wants a “normalization” of trade relations with the communist nation and promises it’ll be an economic boon for the state. Arkansas is the largest cultivator of rice in the nation and not far behind that in poultry production.

A maligned but crucial row crop herbicide that’s led to disputes among neighbors and at least one class action lawsuit could be on its way toward becoming banned in Arkansas.

KEISER, Ark. (AP) — The herbicide dicamba has ruined about 100 acres of soybeans at a state-funded agriculture experiment station in northeastern Arkansas.

Northeast Research and Extension Center Director Chuck Wilson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2rr6qKq) the afflicted field will be tilled and replanted. He said the damage was discovered Friday and that officials aren't certain where the herbicide originated.

"We're going to have to start over," Wilson said.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says in theory he’s okay with Jared Kushner’s possible communications with Russian officials and with President Trump’s signals to the Middle East and Europe, but he questions the sources that are leaking information to the media.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disaster areas after recent flooding.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says in a news release Friday he was informed of the designation from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Counties designated as disasters include Faulkner, Lonoke and Randolph.

Perdue visited the state in early May and said in his letter to the governor that there were sufficient production losses in those counties to warrant a designation.

Another 23 counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.

Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Agriculture Could Have Dramatic Impact On Arkansas

May 25, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget includes deep cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture, and Arkansas farmers could feel the squeeze.

A water wall is moving down the Black River and parts of Northeast Arkansas are bracing for the worst floods in generations. At least 300 people were evacuated from eastern Pocahontas on Monday as the river continued to rise, fueled by weekend rains in southern Missouri.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — After two weeks of surveying farmers for its annual farm production forecasts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it expects Arkansas farmers to plant 500,000 acres of cotton, up from 375,000 last year.

Bill Robertson, a cotton agronomist with the University of Arkansas System's Agriculture Division, says he is surprised by the numbers. The division works with the department in gathering the estimates.

Talk Business & Politics

U. S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, says having a Southerner as Agriculture Secretary will be good for Arkansas. He also says don’t look for a singular piece of legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Crawford, who appeared on Talk Business & Politics this week, said former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has been nominated by President Trump as Agriculture Secretary, will be good for Arkansas farmers.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – Arkansas native Rex Nelson, one of the state's most prominent voices in journalism, government and public affairs, will be the luncheon speaker for Arkansas State University’s annual Agribusiness Conference on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Nelson will discuss the economic and political history of the Arkansas Delta and how the Delta’s history is impacting its future.

The Attorney General’s office has gotten complaints of people receiving phone calls, often from a number with a Jamaican area code, claiming to the be with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The person receiving the call is told they’re the winner of a $2.5 million giveaway and to claim their prize, they must wire an $850 processing fee.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — How high is too high for a pile of chicken manure?

Eight feet, apparently.

Chicken waste is an excellent fertilizer, but with the growing season still weeks away it's piling up in barns across the South. To reduce the risk of fire from spontaneous combustion, poultry experts are warning farmers that piles 6½- to 7-feet high are high enough. One pile caught fire in western Arkansas this week, triggering a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson has approved proposed regulations by the Arkansas State Plant Board to limit use of herbicides containing dicamba.
 
Hutchinson said Wednesday that he's determined the proposal will not cause unnecessary burdens on businesses, but said the methods and research used by the board must be clearly defined and he wants the board to provide "clear rules" within 45 days.
 

Pixabay

  LONSDALE, Ark. (AP) — Damon Helton had one problem when he bought a 160-acre farm in Lonsdale four years ago — he didn't know the first thing about farming.

Three years out of the military, the retired Army Ranger was still transitioning back to civilian life. He had a well-paying sales job, but it took him away from his wife and children too often.

So he bought the Farm at Barefoot Bend in Garland County.

"Then, it was like 'Holy crap, what did we just do?'" he said.

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