Arkansas Farmers Market Week

Governor Hutchinson has proclaimed August 1-7, 2021 as Arkansas Farmers Market Week. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture joins farmers markets and the communities they impact throughout the state in celebrating this week.

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward joined stakeholders and industry partners at the University of Arkansas Little Rock Campus Garden to present the proclamation signed by Governor Hutchinson. The full proclamation can be read here.

Arkansas is home to more than 112 farmers markets around the state that serve as vital links for Arkansas producers and consumers. Direct-to-consumer sales in Arkansas from farmers markets and other direct marketing channels used by farmers are valued at 9.2 million, playing a part in the state's largest industry, agriculture, which contributes more than $21 billion to the state economy each year and employs one out of every six Arkansans. For more information about farmers markets, or to locate one near you, visit the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Arkansas Grown website.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Issues Reminder about Importance of Biosecurity Measures Against African
Swine Fever

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed African Swine Fever in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic. This is the first detection of African Swine Fever in the western hemisphere since 1978.

“This detection should serve as an important reminder to everyone involved in the swine industry or who has contact with swine in any way to enhance their surveillance and biosecurity measures against this highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral swine,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “While African Swine Fever is not a human health threat or a food safety issue, an outbreak in the United States would be devastating to the swine industry in Arkansas and across the country.”

As of December 1, 2020, USDA estimated that Arkansas had 126,000 hogs and pigs with a production value of $40.3 million. The most recent USDA Census of Agriculture reports that Arkansas had 1,021 farms with at least one hog or pig.

International travelers should also be aware of African Swine Fever to avoid unknowingly carrying the disease into the United States. Travelers should follow all USDA guidelines regarding bringing back agriculture items or souvenirs, reporting contact with pigs or swine farms while on travel, and disinfecting protocols prior to contact with pigs in the United States. More information for international travelers can be found at

Because there is no treatment or vaccine available for African Swine Fever, the only way to stop the disease is to depopulate all affected or exposed swine herds.

Good on-farm biosecurity is crucial to preventing African Swine Fever and other animal diseases from developing and spreading. Each farm should have a biosecurity manager and a strict biosecurity plan that includes the following:
  • Adhere to strict biosecurity measures following international travel and ask visitors about recent international travel.
  • Wear site-specific boots and coveralls and keep them onsite. Provide disposable coveralls for visitors.
  • Keep detailed records of all people, vehicles, and equipment at the farm.
  • Isolate sick animals from the herd and keep them away from visitors.
  • Isolate all animals entering or re-entering the herd.
  • Do not allow human food brought onsite to enter animal areas.
  • Do not feed garbage to animals, to include carcasses, meat products, meat by-products or food containing animal proteins.
  • Prevent direct and indirect contact between animals in the herd and feral swine.

“Arkansas pork producers are encouraged to develop a Secure Pork Plan which can help maintain continuity of business," says John G. Nilz, DVM, Acting State Veterinarian. Tools for development of a Secure Pork Plan are available at

Anyone working with pigs should be aware of the following signs of African Swine Fever:
  • High fever
  • Decreased appetite and weakness
  • Red, blotchy skin or skin lesions
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Coughing and difficulty breathing

Any pigs with these signs should be reported to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Livestock and Poultry Division at 501-225-1598 or email or Anyone finding a sick or dead feral hog with no obvious injury or cause of death should also report it immediately.

A copy of the USDA Statement on Confirmation of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic and other important information about African Swine Fever is available at:
Crisis Exemption Granted for Use of Insecticide Against Fall Army
Worms in Rice

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Request for a Section 18 Crisis Exemption for the use of Intrepid 2F insecticide against fall armyworms in rice was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 28.

Fall armyworms have also infected 1.8 million acres of forage in Arkansas, with an additional 3 million acres at risk. Intrepid 2F insecticide is currently registered for use in forage and pasture.

All product applications made under a Section 18 Crisis Exemption must be reported to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture within 10 days of application. A copy of the Section 18 label for Intrepid 2F, reporting forms, and other related information can be found at:
USDA Announces Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have experienced losses due to COVID-19 as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) July 22 through Oct. 15, 2021. The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) is administered by FSA in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Loggers and truckers could apply for PATHH beginning on July 22 by completing form FSA-1118, Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers Program application, and certifying their gross revenue for 2019 and 2020 on the application. Additional documentation may be required. Visit for more information on PATHH and how to apply.

Applications can be submitted to the FSA office at any USDA Service Center nationwide by mail, fax, hand delivery, or via electronic means. To find a local FSA office, loggers and truckers can visit They can also call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.
Urban and Community Forestry Grants

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is now accepting applications for the 2021 Urban & Community Forestry Grant through September 13, 2021. Grants are available to fund community projects that develop, improve, and/or promote urban and community trees and forests.

The Forestry Division and the Grant Review Committee of the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council will rank grant proposals and award funds based on criteria that include: improvements to a community’s tree management program; proposed implementation plan for the project; level of community involvement; educational components; and tree care and long-term maintenance planning. Communities that participate in the Tree City USA, Tree Campus Higher Education, Tree Campus K-12, and Tree Line USA programs will receive additional ranking points. Selected grant recipients will be notified on or before September 24, 2021.

Urban & Community Forestry Grants are administered by the Forestry Division and are funded through a $40,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service. The maximum federal cost share of any project is 50% of the total project expenditures and cannot exceed $12,000. The nonfederal match may be cash, services, or in-kind contributions. Projects must be completed by August 31, 2023. Complete grant details and an online application are available here or by emailing
Arkansas Asked to be on the Lookout for Invasive, Destructive Box Tree Moths

The Box Tree Moth, an invasive insect already a serious pest in Europe, may have been accidentally introduced into the United States through landscaping materials.

Many potentially infested Canadian boxwoods were shipped to seven states, and then moved to other secondary states, including Arkansas. USDA-APHIS is working closely with the affected states to find and destroy the imported plants in the receiving facilities before the Box Tree Moths can become established. The agency is also trying to trace the sale of imported plants to determine additional locations of potentially infected boxwoods. USDA-APHIS will provide box tree traps and lures for surveys in the receiving facilities and other locations that received potentially infected plants.

On May 26, USDA-APHIS halted the importation of boxwoods and two other species, including euonymus and hollies, which are also known to host the moth.

In Arkansas, any findings should be reported to Paul Shell, plant inspection and quarantine program manager for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Call 501-225-1598 or email

For more information and pictures of box tree moths, visit
Applications for Wildland Fire Suppression Kits Accepted Through October 1

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is now accepting applications for Wildland Fire Suppression Kits through October 1, 2021. The application can be found here.

Eighty-five kits will be awarded this year across the state to rural volunteer fire departments. Nearly 500 kits have been distributed since 2014. For more information regarding the kits and applications can be found here.

Fire departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at or (501) 679-3183 with questions. More information about the program can be found at
More than $1.7 Million Provided to Arkansas Fairs to Support Agriculture

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recently provided $1,770,272 in funding to Arkansas fairs for 2021. This funding includes $724,272 in agri fair funding to county fairs, the Four States Fair, the Arkansas-Oklahoma Fair, and the Arkansas State Fair, and construction funding totaling $1,046,000 to county and district fairs.

Agri fair funding is paid to help cover costs of fair operations and other fair-related expenses. Construction funding has historically been paid to counties and districts every other year to cover routine maintenance and/or improvements to fair facilities. In 2021, the Arkansas General Assembly granted recipients of construction funding flexibility to utilize the funding to defray other unavoidable expenses and needs created by the Coronavirus.

Each year Livestock and Poultry Division inspectors provide thousands of hours at fairs across the state to complete health inspections of exhibition animals and to ensure that the applicable animal health regulatory requirements are satisfied. In 2019, the last full year of fair events before the Coronavirus, Livestock and Poultry inspectors provided 3,626 hours at 76 Arkansas fairs.
Arkansas Wildland Fire Deployments

Seven employees of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division have been deployed to fight wildfires in the western U.S. in 2021. Wildfires in Montana and Washington have burned over 435,000 acres this year, destroying wildlife and causing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Currently, five employees are on active deployment. Jim Barham of District Five, Caitlin Mann, Chris Wyatt, and Russell Huskey of District Six, and Michael Mowery of District Eight are fighting wildfires in Montana and Washington. Wesley McKinney of District Seven and Eric Smith of District Eight have also worked on fires in Montana and Colorado and have returned to the Natural State in July.

Recently, the United States shifted into Wildfire Preparedness Level 5, the highest possible level of wildfire activity on the scale. This preparedness level indicates the numbers of firefighting resources, specifically incident management teams, overhead, crews, aircrafts, and equipment deployed to battle wildfires nationally. Arkansas forestry crew members are currently serving in roles of heavy equipment boss (operating and trainee), facility units leader, public information officer, and air operations branch director. All crew members take leave to deploy. Employees are then contracted by the U.S. Forest service to work on an assignment. Most assignments are 14 days plus travel, usually lasting around 18 – 20 days total, but they can be longer.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement Helps Complete Successful Cattle Theft Investigation

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s law enforcement team successfully partnered with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Rangers on a cattle theft and animal cruelty case that resulted in a conviction.

Jay Lee Parker of Waldron, Arkansas was found guilty of two counts of Theft of Leased or Rented Property valued at $25,000 or more and one count of Cruelty to Animals in Scott County Arkansas Circuit Court on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Read more about the multi-state agency investigation and conviction here.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's law enforcement officers work with state, local, and county law enforcement to investigate agricultural crimes that affect any part of Arkansas’s diverse agricultural industry, including wildfire arson, timber theft, livestock theft, and agricultural and forestry equipment theft or vandalism. Visit the Department’s website for more information regarding the Department’s Law Enforcement team or services.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture and University of Arkansas Monticello Announce Foresters for the Future Scholarship Recipient for 2021

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) have named Shylee Head as the recipient of the first Foresters for the Future Scholarship. The scholarship provides $4,000 per semester, for four years, to an incoming freshman who is pursuing a forestry degree at UAM’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

Shylee Head, from Mena, is a member of the National Honor Society and National English Honor Society. She is also a member of the Mena High School band and jazz band and has won multiple awards for her musical talents. Head has been an active member of her local FFA chapter throughout her high school career, including competing as a member of the nursery and landscape Career Development Event team which first introduced her to forestry.

Read more about Head and the Foresters for the Future scholarship opportunity here.
USDA Provides $67 Million in Loans
to Help Heirs Resolve Land Ownership and Succession Issues

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs’ Property Relending Program (HPRP), which aims to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. Intermediary lenders -- cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations – can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1% interest once the Farm Service Agency (FSA) opens the two-month signup window in late August.

After FSA selects lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for loans and assistance. Heirs’ property issues have long been a barrier for many producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services, and this relending program provides access to capital to help producers find a resolution to these issues.

To learn more about the new Heirs' Property Relending Program, eligible lenders, or relending to heirs visit here.
USDA to Measure Crop Production Throughout the Growing Season

How will this year’s weather conditions affect crop production? The Monthly Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) began surveying U.S. farmers on July 30, 2021, regarding acreage and yields of the major row crops throughout the growing season.

The Agricultural Yield Survey captures changes in yield that occur due to weather, pests, disease, and other factors. NASS encourages producers to respond via the Internet but also welcomes mail or fax responses and offers the opportunity for a telephone interview to those producers who did not respond by the deadline.

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results monthly August through November, in the Crop Production report. NASS will also publish final yield and production data the following January in the Annual Crop Production report.

These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Delta Regional Office at (800) 327-2970.
2021 Arkansas Grown

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, innovative agricultural practices have brought local food to local tables. Read about the Northwest Arkansas Food System partnering with 40 local farmers to provide locally grown food to consumers 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, find a physical copy at various locations around the state, or request a copy!
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.
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Find a career in Arkansas's largest industry!

Are you passionate about Arkansas agriculture? With many new and exciting career opportunities, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is looking for highly motivated individuals to bring their passion for the Arkansas agriculture industry to the workplace. Check out our available positions today on the AR Careers website by searching for "agriculture" or "natural resources."
  • The first week of August is recognized as Arkansas Farmers Market Week and National Farmers Market Week.
  • More than 112 known Arkansas farmers markets are important outlets for agricultural producers.
  • Access to healthy foods is a priority of the Healthy Active Arkansas Initiative to reduce obesity rates in the state of Arkansas, and through efforts of initiatives like these, Arkansas farmers markets have nearly doubled in the last decade.
  • More than 80% of Arkansas counties have at least one farmers market.
  • Direct-to-consumer sales in Arkansas from farmers markets and other direct marketing channels used by farmers is valued at more than $9.2 million.
  • The increased consumption of fresh, affordable products including vegetables, fruits, meats, cheese, eggs, jams, and jellies, and other farm products found at farmers markets improves the health and well-being of Arkansans.
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