U. S. Department of Agriculture Retracts Notification of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in Arkansas

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has contacted the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to report a significant error at their Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on a previously reported finding of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in Arkansas.

On March 30, 2021, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services’ (VS), National Veterinary Services Laboratories, Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory (NVSL-FADDL) reported a detection of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) in one domestic rabbit in northeast Arkansas. NVSL-FADDL notified the Arkansas State Animal Health Official and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, which initiated the appropriate disease response activities.

The Department has received notification from the NVSL-FADDL that ancillary testing and review of other diagnostic cases revealed an error which led to the previously reported positive finding. The Department is currently working to notify the appropriate rabbit and veterinarian communities. 

A copy of the notification from APHIS can be found here.

Related links:
Click here to view the ARBA Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Policy.
USDA Announces Funding Available to Organizations to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers under Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative

On April 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the availability of $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding was made possible by USDA’s new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, an effort to distribute resources more broadly and to put greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers impacted by the pandemic. April 5 also marks the reopening of FSA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) signup as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farmers and ranchers have at least 60 days (until June 4) to apply or make modifications to existing CFAP 2 applications.

Arkansas Farmers Markets Preparing for 2021 Market Season

Many Arkansas farmers markets missed the 2020 season due to COVID-19. This spring, farmers markets across the state are now preparing to open while operating under continued COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The Little Rock Farmers Market is returning at the River Market’s two outdoor open-air pavilions, overlooking Riverfront Park and the Arkansas River, on May 1, 2021. This year's Little Rock Farmers' Market will require face coverings for shoppers and vendors, social distancing of at least six feet will also be required, and hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the market.

Paragould Farmers Market recently announced they will open their market on Saturday, May 8, 2021. They also plan to implement current safety guidelines. "Be patient with us. We might have a new set of guidelines every Saturday as these things change,” Paragould Farmer’s Market task force member Allison Hestand said.

More information about Arkansas Farmers Markets can be found at our Arkansas Grown website. Search for market locations, crops, specialty products, and more. Be sure to look for the Department's Arkansas Grown, Arkansas Made, and Homegrown By Heroes labels while you shop this spring.

Full details on membership with Arkansas Grown, Arkansas Made, and Homegrown By Heroes can be found here.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture Hosts “Free Tree Fridays” in Honor of Arbor Day

In recognition of National Arbor Day, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is hosting drive-through giveaways of bare root seedlings at various locations across the state each Friday in April.

“Adding trees to your yard or to a community forest is beneficial to all Arkansans, and spring is an excellent time to plant trees,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Forestry Division. “What better way to recognize National Arbor Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Friday of April, than to provide free trees all month long.”

The Free Tree Friday giveaways are at various locations across the state. The list of locations and times can be found here.
Reminder: 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Proposals Due April 16

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). These grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance the competitiveness of the Arkansas specialty crop industry. Specialty crops are defined by USDA as fruits, vegetables, horticulture, floriculture, and tree nuts.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture uses a two-phase application process for administering the grant funds. Project concept proposals outlining the project’s goals, tasks, and budget requirement must be submitted by April 16 using this form.

After all concept proposals are reviewed by an advisory committee, selected projects will be invited to submit detailed project proposals.

Applicants are encouraged to develop projects pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:
  • Increasing sales and marketability and driving demand for specialty crops;
  • Increasing consumption of specialty crops in Arkansas’s schools by expanding child knowledge and/or improving access to the nutritional benefits of specialty crops;
  • Increasing access to local healthy foods;
  • Research projects focused on helping specialty crop growers reduce financial costs, improve pest and disease management, and/or value-added products; and
  • Enhancing specialty crop food safety.

More information about the grant is available in the full Request for Applications (RFA) at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ADA-SCBGP-RFA-2021.pdf.
For additional information, contact Amy Lyman, amy.lyman@agriculture.arkansas.gov.
Farm to School and Early Childhood Education in the USDA Southeast Region

The Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program is excited to share a new report: Farm to School and Early Childhood Education in the USDA Southeast Region. The report was written after conducting farm to school research and interviewing key players in the southeast United States.
Selfie Tree Contest

Congratulations to the Third Grade Class of Oark, Arkansas! They are the 1st winners of the annual #SelfieTree contest, sponsored by the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council and Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division.

They will win either a potted tree or smaller oak saplings to be planted on their campus. Be sure to post your own #SelfieTree and tag AUFC and the Forestry Division - the post with the most likes this week will win a tree, too!

Want your chance to win a free tree? Show us how you #SelfieTree! The contest continues through National Arbor Day on April 30th.
• Use #SelfieTree in your Facebook post and tag Arkansas Urban Forestry Council and Arkansas Forestry Division
• Get your friends and family to like your post
• Each week, the post with the most likes wins a free tree.
We announce a new winner each Monday, so get outside and show us your #SelfieTree!
Drew, Ashley, and Bradley County Landowner Feral Hog Meeting - April 12, 2021 

Do you actively remove feral hogs from your property? 
The Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force is working to connect with landowners that face problems associated with feral hogs. The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force wants to know the main problems landowners have when removing feral hogs from their property. During these meetings several topics will be addressed, including state and federal assistance, different methods of removal, and long-term goals associated with feral hog population management. Speakers from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services will provide information related to current programs and other assistance available to landowners.
When and where is this meeting? 
This tri-county meeting will take place on April 12, 2021. The meeting will be held in Bradley County at the Hermitage Community Center, 146 South Hickory St., Hermitage, Arkansas from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is limited to 100 people. If you are interested in attending please contact Ryan Farney at ryan.farney@agfc.ar.gov or 501-912-9541. We will also be offering a virtual option. The link to the virtual meeting is listed here.
Single Engine Air Tankers Help the Forestry Division Fight Fires 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division and fire crews were aided by a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) on April 4, 2021 while battling a brush fire in District 8.

The Forestry Division contracts four SEATs during the spring fire season (February through April). More SEATs can be called in based on need and availability. SEATs carry approximately 800 gallons of liquid per load. The SEATs are filled with drop water mixed with a class A foam additive, which makes it 50% more effective than plain water.

The Forestry Division conducts regular training exercises throughout the state to train fire departments how to refill tankers near fires. These trainings are unique to Arkansas. Most places in the U.S. have tankers return to their base to refill. This can cause large turnaround times on drops over fire locations, sometimes up to three hours between drops. Arkansas uses a reload site near the fires to decrease time between drops.

All Arkansas fire departments partner with the Forestry Division for the suppression of wildfires in the state. SEAT trainings for fire ddepartments are hosted at various times throughout the year.

More information on Forestry Division’s general fire trainings can be found here.
Reminder: Arkansas Women in Agriculture Scholarship Applications Due April 31

Arkansas Women in Agriculture (ARWIA) provides support for women in agriculture through their college scholarship program. In 2021, ARWIA is offering two $500 scholarships.

Eligibility requirements:
  • Must be accepted to or currently attending an accredited college in Arkansas as an undergraduate or graduate student studying an agricultural field.
  • Applicant (or immediate family member) must be a current Arkansas Women in Agriculture member.
  • Email completed scholarship application and letter of recommendation to membership@arwomeninag.org with the subject "ARWIA Scholarship Application" by April 30, 2021.

The 2021 Arkansas Women in Agriculture Scholarship Application is available at http://arwomeninag.org/2021-arwia-scholarship-application/
2021 Arkansas Grown

Have you heard about Arkansas's hidden gem? Find out what it is in the latest edition of the Arkansas Grown magazine!

With over 20 features about Arkansas agriculture, there’s something for everyone. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state!
Weekly Market Summary

Each Friday, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture publishes a comprehensive Weekly Market Summary, which includes the Arkansas Weekly Livestock Auction Summary and Related Individual Market Sale Summaries, National Weekly Rice Summary, Memphis Weekly Feed Report, Weekly Rice, Grain, Cotton, and Feed Futures Trends, Weekly Livestock and Milk Futures Trends, Bid Prices to Farmers, Arkansas Daily Grain Report, Heading Links for Historical Data, and news.

The summary is available on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Market Reports webpage, as well as each Division's webpage and Facebook page, and you may sign-up to receive the summary by email at Subscribe To Notifications And Publications.
Follow us on social media!

For the latest in Arkansas agriculture, be sure to follow us on social media! Links to our social media pages can be found here.
  • Pecans are the official state nut.
  • Arkansas has more than 15,736 acres of pecan trees, which is 4,145 acres more than in 2012.
  • Arkansas's commercial pecan groves produce an average of 8.4 million pounds of nuts annually, more than any other nut variety grown in the state.
  • Commercial pecan production in Arkansas over the past five years has contributed an average of $11 million to the state's economy annually.
  • Arkansas pecans are exported internationally.
  • Pecans provide a good source of protein, fiber, and good fats; and serve as nutritious and affordable plant-based foods for all Arkansans.
  • In addition to its nutmeats, the pecan tree's wood is prized for use in flooring, cabinetry, and smoking meats.
  • Arkansas pecan growers banded together in 1997 to form the Arkansas Pecan Growers Association to promote the pecan industry.
  • Governor Hutchinson declared the month of April as Arkansas Pecan Month.
COVID-19 Resources

All Arkansans 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Stay on top of COVID-19 vaccine information with news from the Arkansas Department of Health.

Need more resources? The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has produced numerous shareable and printable COVID-19 resources. We invite and encourage the use of all resources which can be found on our COVID-19 Resource page, including our print and shareable resources.

Department COVID-19 resources can also be found on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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