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Commodity Communicator Weekly

February 28, 2014

USA RICE FEDERATION & ARKANSAS RICE FEDERATION TO HOST FARM BILL BRIEFING SESSIONS
USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward, Vice President of Government Affairs Reece Langley and Senior Manager of Government Affairs Lauren Echols will explain key provisions of the new farm bill along with their specific implications for the U.S. rice industry in an effort to help growers make important decisions for 2014 and beyond.

Stuttgart- March 5, 8 a.m.
Grand Prairie Center, 2709 US 165

Paragould- March 5, 2:30 p.m.
Paragould Community Center, 3404 Linwood Drive

Wynne- March 6, 3 p.m.
Technology Center of the Delta, 1790 Falls Blvd N.


NCC SCHEDULES FARM BILL MEETINGS IN ARKANSAS
he National Cotton Council (NCC) has scheduled 49 education meetings in 15 Cotton Belt states to provide its members with a greater understanding of The Agricultural Act of 2014. NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said, "This new five-year comprehensive farm law includes fundamental changes in cotton's safety net, a greater reliance on crop insurance products, and will be implemented over the 2014 and 2015 crops."

McGehee – March 18, 9 a.m.
McGehee Men's Club Community Center, #1 Airport Road South

Keiser – March 20, 2 p.m.
UA Northeast Research & Education Center, 1241 West County Road 780


EPA PROPOSES CHANGES TO WORKER PROTECTION STANDARDS

The EPA is currently seeking comments on proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) which include:


•    Increased frequency of mandatory trainings (from once every five years to annually) to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including restrictions on entering pesticide-treated fields and surrounding areas, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment. Expanded trainings will include instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
•    Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides; the signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
•    First time-ever minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides, with an exemption for family farms.
•    No-entry buffer areas surrounding pesticide-treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes.
•    Measures to improve the states’ ability to enforce compliance including requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farmworker training and early-entry notification for two years.
•    Personal Protection Equipment (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation, and training.
•    Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets.
•    Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers.
•    Continues the exemptions for family farms.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/workers/proposed/index.html#overview


EPA PETITION TIES LOSS OF MONARCH BUTTERFLIES TO GLYPHOSATE

The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a petition yesterday with the EPA, asking it to conduct an urgent review of its rules in relation to glyphosate use due to the precipitous loss of Monarch Butterflies in North America. The number of Monarch Butterflies in their Mexican wintering ground are just 10 percent of their recent annual average, NRDC reports. The environmental advocacy group suggests it is no coincidence that the massive use of glyphosate, “a broad spectrum weed-killer,” on transgenic soybeans and corn in North America “has led to large-scale suppression of milkweed, a native plant that is the sole source of food for monarch butterfly larvae.”


COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED ON BRAZILIAN BEEF IMPORTS
USDA is taking more public comments on its proposal to expand the areas of Brazil from which it would allow the import of chilled or frozen beef, the agency has announced. The comment period unveiled in December was originally set to lapse last week, but the USDA will extend the period for two more months, a Federal Register notice says. Brazil and the United States are among the world’s top beef exporters, but the two also impose extensive barriers that restrict trade in the product between the two countries. The U.S. currently allows only highly processed beef imports from Brazil because of a longstanding concern over foot-and-mouth disease that plagued the country’s livestock population for years.



TAX REFORM PROPOSAL ADDRESSES TAX RATES, KEY DEDUCTIONS FOR AG

The extensive tax reform proposal released on Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is “a strong and much-needed start to what will surely be an extensive tax reform discussion,” according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.  Camp’s proposal would lower both the top corporate income tax rate and the top individual tax rate to 25 percent, down from the current 35 percent for corporations and 39.6 percent for individuals. While lower income tax rates sound good, the elimination or reduction of some key accounting methods and depreciation and expensing deductions could possibly offset the benefit of a lower income tax rate for farmers and ranchers.


CASE IH EQUIPMENT DISCOUNTS
Members can receive an incentive discount from $300 to $500 when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealerships.  This discount is stackable, meaning it can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. Complete details at www.fbverify.com/case

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