Agri Summit – 2019 Energy Outlook – Winter safety


Third Annual Agri Summit kicks off Feb. 1

Because Arkansas is a leading agricultural state in a largely agricultural nation, Arkansas farmers are key to the fabric of local economies as well as the nation’s. For the past two years, Simmons Bank has hosted an Arkansas Agri Summit to discuss the industry. Open to the public, the Third Annual Agri Summit will take place Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the White Hall Community Center, 9801 Dollarway Road in White Hall.

Rex Nelson, senior editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will emcee expert discussions of the current economic landscape, the future of commodity pricing and the scientific developments impacting the industry locally and globally. Featured speakers include Dr. David Kohl, president of AgriVisions, LLC; Jay Mahaffey, manager of Monsanto’s Scott Learning Center; and Pine Bluff attorney David Bridgforth of Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson and Raley, LLP. Mahaffey will discuss lessons from Monsanto’s Learning Center. Bridgforth will instruct participants on what to expect from the 2018 Farm Bill, and Kohl will speak on positioning farmers for success in the economic reset.

The event is free. Lunch is provided by event sponsor Scott Petroleum. Register at or by calling 870-265-5366.

Energy outlook for 2019

Federal energy officials have made their first forecasts for 2019, and they expect to see modest growth in the nation’s electricity consumption, with a record set for renewables.

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts a 1.3 percent consumption increase this year, followed by a rise of just 0.5 percent in 2019.

History is expected to be made, with non-hydro renewable energy sources forecast to supply more than 10 percent of the nation’s annual average total generation in 2019. It will be the first time on record that’s happened, EIA said in its Jan. 9 report.

EIA expects the price of natural gas for electricity generation will be lower this year than last and will fall even more in 2019. Natural gas should account for 33 percent of generation this year and 34 percent next year, the report said.

Those lower natural gas prices, combined with retirements of coal-based plants, will have an impact on coal’s role. Coal supplied about 30 percent of America’s electricity generation in 2016 and 2017, but EIA expects it will fall to slightly below 30 percent this year and 28 percent next year. Plant operators are telling EIA they plan to retire 13 gigawatts of coal-based capacity in 2018.

Next year’s scheduled retirement of reactors at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island and the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts will have an impact on nuclear’s share of generation. EIA expects nuclear will account for 19 percent of generation in 2019, down from the 20 percent seen in 2017 and expected again this year.

And drivers will be digging deeper. “EIA expects the retail price of regular gasoline to average $2.51 per gallon during the first quarter of 2018,” up 19 cents from the same time last year, “primarily reflecting higher crude oil prices,” the report said. EIA sees prices peaking at $2.63 in August, for a 2018 average of $2.57. It’s forecasting a $2.58 average in 2019.Source: NRECA

Winter safety tips

As winter continues, here are some steps you can take to stay safe during the cold weather.

  • Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors.
    If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  • Don’t catch fire! Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

 If you become stranded

  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.

For more information on how to stay safe during the cold weather, visit the winter storm safety page at

Source: American Red Cross