Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Industry News: March 2024

Mississippi Rice Council Annual Meeting Recounts a Year of Rice-Centric Activities

About 75 producers were present at the annual Mississippi Rice Council meeting to learn about promotion, research, agronomy, politics, and more.

Mississippi Rice Council President Kirk Satterfield welcomed about 75 producers to the annual meeting recently to learn about promotion, research, agronomy, politics, and more.

Promotions were first up with a brief report from Mississippi Promotion Board Chair Patrick Swindoll, and then a detailed accounting of promotion activities from Bolivar County Extension Coordinator Laura Jane Giaccaglia. Highlights included the launch of the “Between the Levees” cookbook that was sold at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, the numerous activities and public appearances of the Delta Rice Queen and Ambassador, as well as the evolution of the National Rice Month celebrations in the region.

Hunter Bowman, Extension rice specialist at the Delta Research & Extension Center, provided agronomy updates, specifically sharing results of his crop protectant research. Then doctoral candidate Anna Smyly with the center talked about her team’s research into water use and tailwater recovery studies.

Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Innovation Scott Manley and USA Rice Director of Grower Relations Josh Hankins offered updates on the Climate Smart Commodity program that is a joint project of those organizations and the National Black Growers Council.

Finally, Satterfield introduced the USA Rice Washington staff: President & CEO Peter Bachmann, Chief Operating Officer Sarah Moran, and Vice President of Communications & Domestic Promotion Michael Klein.

Bachmann thanked the attendees for their continued support of USA Rice and for “lending” Satterfield to the national group to serve as chair of USA Rice. He talked about the tens of millions of dollars the group has been able to direct to the rice industry and explained that a new Farm Bill is clearly a priority, but challenging as the legislative calendar gets a bit shorter each day.

Moran gave an overview of export markets and promotion activities and talked about quality concerns with U.S. rice in key markets and how USA Rice is working with researchers and breeders to address the issue.

Klein then shared domestic promotion highlights, including work being done on a refresh of the Grown in the USA rice mark, and an update on school foodservice programs, including the new K-12 Foodservice Cookbook. He promoted the USA Rice Daily, The Rice Stuff podcast, and the 2024 USA Rice Outlook Conference scheduled for December 8-10 in Little Rock that he said will be “the biggest and best yet.”

There followed, as always, an outstanding meal, fellowship, and a meeting of the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board.

    — Deborah Willenborg, USA Rice’s The Daily

Arkansas Century Farm Program

The Arkansas Century Farm Program recognizes Arkansas’s rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture administers the program.

The Arkansas Century Farm Program is voluntary, each family chooses whether to submit an application and participate in the program. The program places no restrictions on the farm and offers no legal protection. There is no cost to the family to submit an application and participate in the program. Successful applicants receive a personalized certificate and a metal sign identifying their historical farm.

Qualifications

• Only the property’s legal owner(s) may apply for the Arkansas Century Farm Program.

• The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years or more by the end of the calendar year.

• The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through spouses, children, siblings, or nephews and nieces. Adopted children will be recognized equally with other descendants.

• The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land and make a financial contribution to the farm’s income.

Application Process

The Department is accepting applications for the 2024 Arkansas Century Farm Program. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2024.

The online application is available at https://www.cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/_2024ArkansasCenturyFarmProgramApplication.

A printable application is available at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024-Century-Farm-Application.pdf.

Applications must be received via email to beth.moore@agriculture.arkansas.gov or postmarked on or before May 31, 2024, to be eligible for designation as a 2024 inductee.

• Applications must be submitted on official forms provided by the Department with all questions completed.

• Applications must be complete, legible, and signed to be considered.

• All applications must include verification of ownership for 100 years.

For questions about the Arkansas Century Farm Program, contact Program Manager Beth Moore at beth.moore@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 539-4027.

LDAF is Now Accepting Applications for Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grant

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is now accepting grant applications for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program (RFSI).

The LDAF will work in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)to award $4.6 million for equipment and infrastructure projects to Louisiana food and farm businesses, as well as other eligible entities including nonprofits, local government entities, tribal governments, schools, and hospitals. The application period opened Feb. 7, 2024, and applications will be accepted through April 15, 2024.

The goal of the RFSI program is to build resilience in the middle-of-the-food-supply-chain, increase and streamline markets for small farms and local businesses, and support the development of value-added products for consumers that will lead to fair prices, fair wages, and new job opportunities.

“There are many people and steps needed to bring locally produced food to our tables. The RFSI grants will help fund those in our local supply chain that process, transport, and distribute our food,” remarked Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.

“This funding will create new opportunities, strengthen markets for local farmers, and increase stability for consumers. We look forward to seeing all of the great projects that come out of this partnership with USDA.”

Through the cooperative agreement, the LDAF will coordinate the initiatives that will strengthen Louisiana’s middle-of-the-food-supply-chain. Funds will support expanded capacity for aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distributing locally and regionally produced food products, including specialty crops, dairy, grains for eating, and aquaculture. RFSI funds exclude meat, wild-caught seafood, and poultry products as those products are funded through other USDA programs.

Applications will be evaluated through a competitive review process in cooperation with the USDA-Agriculture Marketing Service. Applications will be ranked based on their project’s need, proposed outcomes and feasibility, as well as the impact they will have on the local food supply chain in their communities. The LDAF encourages applications that serve underserved farmers and ranchers, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, veteran producers and processors, and other middle-of-the-supply-chain businesses owned by socially disadvantaged people.

Applications are due no later than 4:30 p.m. CT on April 15, 2024. For more information on the applications, please download and carefully read the Request for Applications at https://www.ldaf.la.gov/business/grants-funding/resilient-food-systems-infrastructure.

The LDAF and USDA will announce the projects receiving funding this summer. To apply for RFSI grants, or for additional information, including training dates and locations, and frequently asked questions about the RFSI grant process, please visit: https://www.ldaf.la.gov/business/grants-funding/resilient-food-systems-infrastructure, or contact RFSI@ldaf.state.la.us.

Leadership Farm Bureau Class Announced for 2024

Nine agricultural professionals have been chosen for the California Farm Bureau’s 2024 Leadership Farm Bureau program.

Leadership Farm Bureau class members will participate in a 10-month educational and development initiative that prepares them for leadership roles in Farm Bureau and agriculture. The program includes 250 hours of instruction, with seminars on key issues affecting California farmers and ranchers and agricultural businesses.

Program participants will learn about government and legislation, media and communications, public speaking, and team building. They will also attend lobbying sessions in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and meet with lawmakers and administrative and regulatory officials.

Members of the Leadership Farm Bureau class include:

• Ben Abatti III of Imperial County, a third-generation farmer who grows alfalfa, sugar beets, wheat, and other forage crops in Holtville.

• Alex Arroyo of Monterey County, general manager of King City Transplanting in the Salinas Valley.

• Tanya Brouse of Butte County, a program coordinator for the Butte County Farm Bureau who also works with the Butte Agriculture Foundation.

• Sy Honig of Sutter County, a third-generation farmer, owner of Honig Farms and a pest control advisor.

• Jackie Kennedy of Glenn County, founder of Knaughty Farms Olive Oil and office manager for a family farm growing olives, rice, and walnuts.

• James Moller of Shasta County, a seventh-generation cattle rancher and a manager for Driscoll’s Inc. focusing on strawberry nursery production.

• Rachel Nettleton of Kern County, executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau and a marketing and communications professional.

• Harsimerdip “Harry” Sidhu of Sutter County, a vice president of First Northern Bank in Yuba City who grew up on his family’s fruit and nut farm.

• Danielle Vietti of Tulare County, a vice president at AgWest Farm Credit in Tulare who specializes in dairy financing.

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