Plant Board Update by Brad Koen 7-5-2019

We had our quarterly Arkansas State Plant Board meeting on June 11. After a year of service, Butch Calhoun has decided to step down as the director. Butch stated that he is retiring and planning on spending more time with his family. He thanked the plant board for giving him the opportunity to serve our industry. The board decided to vote Scott Bray in as his predecessor. A group of growers petitioned the board for an extension to apply dicamba for in-crop use until May 25. After much discussion, the board voted the petition down. As of the board meeting date, there had been 17 dicamba complaints filed in the state. Corteva sent a request to the board to consider allowing Blue-Tag Pioneer branded wheat varieties 26R41, 26R45, and 26R59 for the 2019 planting season. This request is due to the lack of certified seed due to wet weather during the 2018 planting season. The board voted to allow Corteva’s request. Mary Smith and Caleb Allen gave presentations on the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Program. This a very interesting program. The potential for growers in the state remains to be seen. The hemp growers in Arkansas are battling weather just like our traditional farmers. The weather stations that the state is currently using are outdated and need several repairs. The estimated cost to get the stations back in order would be around $700,000. Instead of repairing the old stations, the board decided to go with a subscription to DTN for access to their weather stations. This subscription would allow access to 50 stations and would also allow public access to those stations via the plant board website. The plant board will have private access to DTN’s network which consists of over 3,000 stations throughout the country. This subscription will improve our data for much less investment. The 7 year outlook to subscribe with DTN would be approximately $450,000.