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Commodity Communicator Weekly

March 8, 2013

GRAIN TRADING HOURS TO CHANGE. . . .It has been reported that beginning Sunday, April 7, 2013 the Chicago Board of Trade will implement shorter trading hours.  The electronic trade will shift to a 7 p.m. (central time) start, and then take a 45 minutes break at 7:45 a.m. The electronic trade will resume at 8:30 a.m. and pit trade will begin at that same time.  All trading will end at 1:15 p.m.

. . . . .The United Sorghum Checkoff Board of Directors approved funding of $3.4 million in significant investments to private and public research to enhance sorghum’s genetic potential. “The United Sorghum Checkoff Program remains committed to improving sorghum as a sustainable, profitable and competitive crop,” said Sorghum Checkoff Chairman Stewart Weaver, a producer from Edmondson, Ark. “There is great momentum in the sorghum industry, and we look forward to announcing more details about this investment in the coming weeks.”

. . . . .The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board met March 1-2, 2013 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  The board allocated $2.5 million of checkoff funds for research efforts with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and an additional $600,000 from the proceeds of the Columbia TRQ.  The board also approved a proposal for promotion and market development from the USA Rice Council, with funding to be based upon the proceeds from the 1.35 cent per bushel promotion/market development assessment paid by the first buyer of rice in Arkansas.  The board allocated $25,000 to the Arkansas Foundation for Agriculture, for their agriculture awareness campaign.

. . . . .Arkansas' two U.S. senators are part of a group who today introduced a bill to amend the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule and ease the regulatory compliance for farms.  

Click on the following ling to read the article:  Arkansas Matters - SPCC.

. . . . . USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service extended the deadline for Conservation Innovation Grant applications to Friday, March 22. The grants help develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to improve conservation on private lands.

For more information, go to:  NRCS - CIG Deadline Extended.

. . . . .The Poteau Valley Watershed Symposium is coming up next week, March 15. Lunch will be provided, with the support of the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute. There is no charge to attend the symposium. RSVP is required.

For more information, go to: Poteau Valley Watershed - Symposium.  

. . . Acting Arkansas State Conservationist Doris Washington announced applications are being accepted through March 15, 2013, for the National Water Quality Initiative in three watersheds in portions of Jefferson and Lincoln counties.

For more information, go to: USDA - Water Quality Initiative.

. . . . . On Friday, February 22, the Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission (APCEC) approved the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ’s) request to initiate rulemaking on Regulation 2. ADEQ Reg 2 establishes the state’s water quality standards.

To view the draft changes, click on the following link: ADEQ - Reg 2 Proposed Changes.

Four public hearings have been scheduled:

April 15- Jonesboro – 6 p.m.- Allen Park Community Center
April 18 – Fayetteville- 6 p.m.- Fayetteville City Administration Bldg, Room 219
April 22- El Dorado- 6 p.m. – South Arkansas Community College, East Campus, Workforce    Development Bldg.
April 24 – North Little Rock- 2 p.m. – ADEQ Headquarters, Commission Room

Written and electronic mail comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. May 8.  

Send written comments to:  Doug Szenher, Public Outreach and Assistance Division, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118

Send e-mail comments to:

VILSACK DEFENDS NEED TO FURLOUGH MEAT INSPECTORS. . . . .Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack faced criticism Tuesday from congressional lawmakers who said he has not done enough to avoid the expected furloughs of meat plant inspectors later this year as part of a government-wide mandatory cut in spending. Vilsack was at times defensive and faced a drumbeat of criticism largely from Republican representatives during a three-hour hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. He told members of the panel it will be several months before meat and poultry inspectors are furloughed for a period expected to be 11 or 12 days. Still, he said, the department is taking the first step this week by sending out notices to employees notifying them that time off without pay could occur sometime before Sept. 30, the end of the government’s fiscal year.

VETERINARY LOAN REPAYMENT ACT RE-INTRODUCED. . . . .The Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act is scheduled to be re-introduced in Congress next week. Farm Bureau is working with the American Veterinary Medical Association to send a statement in support of the legislation to exempt Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) awards from taxation.  The VMLRP is designed to increase access to veterinary care in designated shortage areas by providing academic loan repayment in exchange for service. These awards, however, are currently taxed at a rate of 39 percent, severely constricting the impact of congressionally appropriated funding. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act aims to make loan repayment awards under the VMLRP and similar state programs exempt from federal taxation, thereby maximizing resources designated to such programs.

EPA SPILL PREVENTION RULE COMPLIANCE DEADLINE MAY 10. . . . .The final deadline for farms to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule (SPCC) for the regulation of aboveground oil storage in tanks and other containers is May 10.  The rule calls for such things as secondary containment walls, regular inspections of tanks and piping, and creation of an SPCC plan that has to be kept onsite.  For some storage tanks, a professional engineer must be hired to oversee development.

EPA has a dedicated webpage to assist with compliance of the SPCC regulation for farmers storing more than 1,320 gallons of oil.  In addition, EPA partnered with Asmark and The Fertilizer Institute to create an online tool to help prepare self-certified SPCC plans.  If you store 10,000 gallons or less of oil and have a clean oil spill history, you may be eligible to prepare a self-certified plan.   

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT MAGAZINE AVAILABLE ONLINE. . . . .The Arkansas Agriculture Department has made available its new annual magazine Arkansas Grown.  The magazine is the first publication of its kind by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, and it will serve as an information document that will market Arkansas agriculture and be utilized to educate the public of the importance of agriculture in Arkansas.  The magazine will also be published and distributed widely statewide.  

. . . Offers members special pricing on name-brand items like Craftsman garage storage and lawn tractors; Sealy and Sears-O-Pedic mattresses; NordicTrack exercise equipment; Kenmore outdoor grills, televisions and more. For program details,

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