Farm Bureau board welcomes Gabe Munoz

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Farm Bureau board members welcomed guest speaker Gabe Munoz, project manager, PMP, Entergy, who spoke on ways to reduce irrigation well energy costs at the Wednesday, March 20, meeting.

Gabe Munoz with Entergy spoke at the Farm Bureau meeting on the Irrigation Load Control Program demonstrating how the meter works using a computer, laptop, tablet, or Smartphone allowing farmers to remotely operate wells enrolled in the program.

Munoz demonstrated how farmers can remotely operate wells enrolled in the Agricultural Irrigation Load Control Program from their computer, laptop, tablet, or Smartphone. He also explained to the group how the program can offer savings on Entergy bills for all customers.

He said when purchases have to be made from other power plants that are only open for a week or two a year it is very expensive.

"The savings from the program Entergy offers is passed on to you guys," he said. "This program is putting the technology power in your hands."

To participate, farmers must agree to allow Entergy to install a load control device on their pump, which will turn the power off and on to the pump. There is no installation fee. They also have to allow Entergy to turn off the pump for a minimum of three hours a day Monday through Friday, between the hours of 12 and 9 p.m., excluding holidays, when needed. The customers will be notified when the pump will be turned off and back on.

He said they know the farmers need for water and they would not want to interfere with their yields.

"You can opt out of the program at any time during June, July and August," he said.

He also said they could sign up one, some or all of their pumps. He said last year the pumps were turned off 14 times (two for testing) three hours or less each and it was a drought year.

He also said they also offer collective billing for multiple wells for the convenience of their customers.

He demonstrated how the remote works. He said Entergy has about 1,000 units and with about 500 still available.

The Board watched the farm Bureau March update DVD featuring information from Legislature Farm Day, comments from Farm Bureau State President Randy Veach, information on the Century Farm program, and featuring the England Poultry Farm and Cadron Crest Orchards.

Sherry Felts, president of the Women's Committee, spoke on the food check out project.

"This is the third week of February and most have earned enough for food for a year," she said. "Our farmers offer affordable, safe, and abundant food."

She said the women's committee purchased as much food as they could with $300 and donated it to the Methodist Food pantry in Osceola. She read a thank you note from the church.

She said the poster/safety contest entries had been sent to Little Rock.

She also reported on the Women's Conference with 106 attending. She conducted a workshop on making soy crayons and soy lip balm. She said they also donated money to the Ronald McDonald House which will give them the opportunity to utilize the farmer's market to purchase fresh fruit.

Randy Reynolds gave a legislative update. He said Farm Bureau has been doing a lot of work in Little Rock.

He mentioned some of the issues including feral hogs, tax issue, fire fee on timber, water priority bill, and metal theft.

Jason Kaufman with Arkansas Farm Bureau safety programs spoke briefly about summer camps, safety programs available for young people, the ASU-Ag golf tournament, and other safety programs such as grain bin safety workshops.

President Randy Veach updated the group on the status of several issues in legislation saying the sales tax exemption passed 93-0 in the House and is in the Senate Revneue Tax Committee now.

Benton Felts, past Mississippi County Farm Bureau president and member of the Mississippi County Quorum Court, gave an update.

Randy Reynolds gave an update on the weevil eradication.

Ben Davis gave a report on the recent University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture meeting held in Keiser.

Heath Donner gave a report on the Young Farmers and Ranchers meeting held in Keiser calling it a great success. Donner also brought peanuts grown on the Donner Farm last season for everyone to sample.

Before the meeting closed, Mark Bryles recognized Tom Hitt, past president, who passed away recently. He read a thank you note from Mrs. Hitt.

He gave a report on the scholarship foundation which is getting close to $100,000.

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