Arkansas Plant Board selects Scott Bray as director; denies extended dicamba use

by George Jared ([email protected]) 593 views 

The Arkansas Plant Board on Tuesday (June 11) voted unanimously to appoint APB assistant director Scott Bray to the director’s post. Bray will replace Butch Calhoun who has served as the director since July 2018. Calhoun is a former state agriculture secretary, former state legislator, and a longtime farmer.

“He (Calhoun) is ready to retire. It’s a long drive from his home here and he’s ready to retire again,” Arkansas Department of Agriculture spokesman Brett Dawson told Talk Business & Politics.

Another decision by the board was to not extend the use of dicamba. Severe weather has plagued growers during the 2019 season, and a petition to extend the use period beyond May 25 was considered, Dawson said. The board ultimately chose to reject it, however, he added.

The board approved proposed rule changes to the Industrial Hemp Research Program that include clarification of terms, an explanation of timelines for the application process, and additional and increased fees associated with the program.

Some of the changes included language changes so that it would comport with language in the 2018 federal Farm Bill that was passed last year, Dawson said. Another change was the insertion of an application fees schedule. When the program was created, no fees were included, Dawson said.

A non-fundable grower application fee of $50 was approved along with a $200 license fee. A yearly $200 modification fee will also be assessed along with sliding scale of charges for different acreages that starts at $50 for less than five acres and goes all the way up to $1,000 for 200 acres or more. Other fees are included in the rule change, too.

The board approved proposed rule changes to the Arkansas Pest Control Program that include an increase in the number of registered agents that a licensed operator can supervise, the removal of practices and terms that are no longer in use, and a clarification of the definition of hidden damages.