March 21, 2023
The Agricultural Council of Arkansas remains a trusted voice for Arkansas farmers and the row crop industry since its establishment in 1939. Shortly after the organization’s founding, Harvey R. Adams, executive vice president for the Ag Council, made an impactful statement.
“Every farmer cannot give their talent, but there is no excuse for not investing money to protect your interests. You never know just when help from an organization like this will be needed and needed badly. Experience has taught us that you can’t wait until war is declared to form and train an army.”
Adams exclaimed this in 1943, amid World War II, and Andrew Grobmyer, executive vice president of the Ag Council, noted the quote holds true today.
“This organization has been a leader in shaping and advancing policies for the benefit of Arkansas agriculture, and we will continue to do that so long as we have land to farm,” he said.
The voluntary-membership base consists of farmers, landowners, and businesses associated with the industry. Grobmyer expressed gratefulness on behalf of the Ag Council to those who commit their time, talent, and treasure the organization.
“Our goal is to serve as the tip of the spear for our industry and advance the interests of our members and their businesses. We depend on our membership to sustain our vital mission, and we always encourage others with a vested interest to join us in the effort,” he said.
Leadership and Advocacy
The leadership of the Ag Council includes respected Arkansas farmers who represent a range of commodities and regions in the state. These leaders recently assumed their roles at the annual board of directors meeting in Dec. 2022:
Nathan Reed (president, Marianna)
Jeff Rutledge (vice president, Newport)
Joe Mencer (vice president, Lake Village)
The organization is an active participant in policy development from Arkansas to Washington, D.C. and maintains a close working relationship with government connections such as: the Arkansas congressional delegation, members of the Arkansas General Assembly, and first term Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her administration.
The Ag Council also works closely with other organizations across the Midsouth. These include commodity and non-commodity affiliations – representing all segments and facets of the ag industry.
Cotton Roots Grow into Service Opportunities
Cotton was the leading commodity in the state when the Ag Council established its roots. At that time more than 2 million acres of cotton were planted in Arkansas, and likewise the crop received much of the focus.
While those cotton roots continue to thrive, the Ag Council’s efforts have evolved throughout the years, alongside the broadened range of commodities produced in the state.
Alliance with a multitude of state and national boards allows the Ag Council to serve as an industry liaison. The organization connects members to a variety of leadership roles and public service opportunities to represent the commodities grown across Arkansas.
Members interested in serving in any of these leadership capacities are encouraged to apply, and the Ag Council provides support and counsel in their pursuits.
As a certified interest organization, the Ag Council names delegates to serve within the National Cotton Council. It also identifies leaders to serve in roles with the Cotton Board, Cotton Incorporated, the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Board, and various commodity research and promotion boards.
Worker’s Compensation Fund
Since 1992, Ag Council members have collaborated to build and maintain a self-insured worker’s compensation fund. It protects workers and employers from workplace injury risks with an all-encompassing solution – led by a farmer, processor, and ag business perspective.
The fund is centered around service over profits and has proven tremendous value to Arkansas ag. Program demand continues to rise, with much coming from employers looking to meet coverage requirements for the growing H-2A migrant labor workforce.
The well-managed insurance program is effective and efficient, resulting in surplus distributions returned to members each year.
Outlook for 2023
This year, the Ag Council’s primary focus is the legislative session of the 94th Arkansas General Assembly and the development of the next farm bill in Washington, D.C.
Grobmyer said the organization’s policy goals are both broad and narrow – in nature and scope – for federal and state issues. He affirmed the Ag Council’s approach in accomplishing these goals.
“First is to do no harm, and second is to advance new policies that strengthen the condition of the industry,” he said.
2023 marks an important year with the start of a new administration in Arkansas, and the Ag Council looks forward to Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, playing a lead roll in the farm bill.
Connect with the Ag Council
The Ag Council actively communicates with members through regular newsletters to provide up-to-date information on issues impacting the ag industry. The organization also maintains a presence across social media channels. Follow their handle (@agcouncilofar) for the latest updates.
For information on membership benefits and sponsorship opportunities, visit the Ag Council website.
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