Amarillo area business news and developments for March 10

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Interstate Bank names Pam Chisum as Market President

Interstate Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Pam Chisum to Market President in Perryton.

Chisum “embodies servant leadership. For 32 years she has dedicated her time to serving customers, staff, and the community of Perryton. In 2022, she was honored as Perryton Citizen of the Year, reflecting her outstanding leadership and involvement in various community organizations throughout her career,” a news release states. “She is also a devoted member of the Perryton community, serving as the Director of the Perryton Rodeo Association and Co-chairman of the Wheatheart Celebration Council, as well as serving as a member of the Panhandle Profession Women and Community Worship Center.”

The company noted being inspired by Chisum’s hard work, dedication, and passion. Danny Skarda, Chairman & CEO, acknowledged Pam’s commitment, stating, “Pam’s spirit for the community has always been commendable. She continues to exceed customer expectations in terms of service. We are very proud that Pam is on our TEAM!”

For more information on Interstate Bank, visit https://www.isbtexas.bank/.

Brown & Fortunato announces attorney promotions, new Dallas office

Brown & Fortunato, P.C. has announced new shareholders and a new senior attorney in the firm. Newly promoted attorneys are as follows:

Michael Alexander who practices in the firm’s Health Care Group, was promoted to Shareholder in 2023. Alexander is based in Amarillo and is licensed in both Texas and Minnesota. He represents health care clients in a variety of business and regulatory matters, including regulatory compliance, licensing, due diligence review in the acquisition of health care providers, government investigations, and commercial disputes. Alexander’s clients are primarily pharmacies, hospitals, and physician groups.

Colleen Byrom has been promoted to Senior Attorney in the Health Care Group. Byrom is based in Dallas and represents hospitals, pharmacies, DME suppliers, home health agencies, and hospice providers in a wide variety of healthcare regulatory matters. Byrom advises clients on state licensing standards; program enrollment, reimbursement and administrative appeal matters; Medicare Conditions of Participation; Medicare and Medicaid coverage requirements; the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark law, and HIPAA. She also works closely with members of the firm’s Corporate Group, advising on regulatory issues involved in the mergers and acquisitions of various healthcare providers.

John Hinders has been promoted to Shareholder in the Corporate Group, where he assists clients with the sale and acquisition of business entities, with a particular focus on healthcare providers. Hinders’ practice, based in Amarillo, also includes corporate finance and a wide range of business matters.

Jonathan Sterling has been promoted to Shareholder in the Corporate Group. Based in Dallas, Sterling’s transactional practice includes many types of corporate transactions in the energy, entertainment, financial services, logistics, real estate, and technology industries, with an emphasis on transactions in the healthcare industry. In addition to his corporate and transactional offerings, Jon serves as the principal advisor on numerous business matters, including contract review, corporate governance, corporate structuring, acquisitions, sales, equity buyouts, and dispute resolution planning.

Jason Temple has been promoted to Shareholder in the Corporate Group. He is licensed in both Texas and Oklahoma and is based in Tulsa. Temple advises public and private clients on a broad spectrum of business matters. Temple is skilled in matters related to entity formation, corporate governance, financing, reorganization and restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, business transactions, contract drafting and negotiation, taxation, and business succession.

In addition, Brown & Fortunato announces the relocation of its Dallas office to a location near I-75 and Walnut Hill. Six attorneys currently work from the firm’s Dallas office at 7557 Rambler Road. This move enhances the firm’s ability to provide a range of legal services to clients across the country, the company noted in the release. With this new space, the firm is excited to continue the growth of its national practice. Brown & Fortunato currently has more than 30 attorneys who practice primarily from the firm’s Amarillo and Dallas offices, with additional attorneys located in five other states. The firm continues to grow strategically to serve the growing client base.

For more information, visit them on Facebook or visit www.bf-law.com .

USDA offers disaster assistance to Texas farmers and livestock producers impacted by wildfires

TEMPLE — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers across Texas recover from recent wildfires. Producers impacted by wildfires should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). The LIP payment application and notice of loss deadline is March 3, 2025, for 2024 calendar year losses. Meanwhile, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses and transportation cost associated with transporting feed/forage to livestock and livestock to feed. For ELAP, producers are required to complete a notice of 2024 loss and a payment application to their local FSA office no later than Jan. 30, 2025.

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing.

FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) can assist landowners with financial and technical assistance to remove debris from farmland such as woody material, sand, rock and materials from collapsed hoop houses/high tunnels on cropland or pastureland. Through the program, FSA can provide assistance toward the restoration or replacement of fences including livestock cross fences, boundary fences, cattle gates or wildlife exclusion fences on agricultural land. Additionally, the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) can assist eligible owners of nonindustrial private forestland to also restore the land by removing debris, repairing forestland roads, and replacing fence. For both programs, farmers and ranchers should check with their local FSA office to find out about sign-up periods, which are set by the FSA County Committee.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to make available $6 million in Texas to assist with emergency conservation practices. Visit your local USDA Service Center to learn more about these impacts and potential recovery tactics.

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

Texas wildfires impacting Panhandle ranchers but not overall cattle and beef prices

Wildfires in the Texas Panhandle caused significant cattle losses for individual ranchers, but should not impact beef cattle markets or consumers, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist in the Texas A&M Department of Agricultural Economics, Bryan-College Station, said it may be weeks before there are estimates for lost cattle, but he expects the impact of the wildfire to be localized.

The size and scope of the Smokehouse Creek Fire fire along with reports about the Panhandle being home to 85% of the state’s beef cattle herd has led to inferences about large-scale cattle losses. Much of the state’s cattle herd does move through the Panhandle because the region is a major hub for feedlots where beef cattle are fed grain before being processed. However, beef cow populations are spread throughout the state.

Cattle prices continue to trend upward and set all-time records. Anderson expects that trend will continue into 2025 because the U.S. and Texas herd has shrunk over the past two years due to drought. Calf prices continue to set records. Calves in the 500-600-pound range were averaging $2.35 per pound this time last year compared to $3.14 per pound last week. Spring calving season is underway, which means the wildfire could have erased the value of a productive cow and future value of any calf lost, Anderson said.

AgriLife Extension’s Disaster Assessment Recovery, DAR, unit is coordinating recovery efforts, including intake of material and feed donations in the area. General information about donations or relief efforts can be obtained by calling 806-354-5800.

USDA announces conservation reserve program general signup for 2024

COLLEGE STATION – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin signing up for the general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting March 4 and running through March 29, 2024.

This conservation opportunity gives producers tools to conserve wildlife habitat while achieving other conservation benefits, including sequestering carbon and improving water quality and soil health.

“The USDA has a long track record of fostering and supporting the vital relationship between agriculture and conservation, and the Conservation Reserve Program helps our producers be good stewards of their lands and boost wildlife populations at the same time,” said Kelly Adkins, FSA State Executive Director in Texas. “These efforts demonstrate the power of USDA’s Farm Bill conservation programs to conserve wildlife habitat, protect clean water and address climate change in partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and conservation organizations across the country.”

Landowners and producers interested in CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learnmore or to apply for the program before their deadlines.  

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