Governor Sanders Declares August as Catfish Month
On August 3, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined agriculture leaders and industry partners in declaring August as Arkansas Catfish Month. The proclamation highlights the state’s catfish industry and the value it contributes to Arkansas’s economy.

“As the third-biggest catfish producer in the nation, our catfish farmers power the economy in communities across Arkansas,” said Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “My administration will continue to support our great farmers – keeping our farming here and healthy for the next generation.”

“Catfish production in Arkansas is a great example of why agriculture is our state’s largest industry, with catfish consistently ranking in Arkansas’s top agricultural commodities,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “Catfish month is a great time to recognize this industry and the dedicated producers who work hard to maintain Arkansas as a national leader in agriculture.”
Representatives from The Catfish Institute, Catfish Farmers of Arkansas, Catfish Promotion Board, Arkansas Farm Bureau, and other agriculture industry stakeholders attended the event.

King Kat of Carlisle, Arkansas catered a catfish luncheon that also featured watermelons from Cave City and Hope.

Photographs from this event can be found here.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Announces New Website Calendar Feature for Agriculture Events
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is pleased to introduce a new interactive calendar feature on the Department website. This feature allows producers, industry stakeholders, and members of the public to submit events to be included in the calendar.

“The new calendar feature will provide a reliable resource for industry stakeholders as well as interested individuals on upcoming events that promote all aspects of Arkansas’s agriculture industry,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.

The new feature allows a user to submit an event to be considered for placement on the Department website calendar. In addition to filling out the date(s) and time(s), users can also provide location information, location maps, a link to the event website, and provide additional information such as organizer contact information and registration costs.

All submitted calendar entries are published on the Department webpage upon approval. Interested individuals can submit an event here and view the Department's calendar of events here. For additional questions, contact Amy Lyman at
Arkansas Department of Agriculture To Receive $5.6 Million from the USDA Regional Food System Initiative
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is receiving $5.6 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program to improve food supply chain operations and strengthen local food systems throughout the state.
Eligible entities include agricultural producers, processors, nonprofit organizations, local governments, tribal governments, and institutions. Visit here for complete details on eligible institutions.
The RFSI program will focus on funding activities that:
  • Improve the middle of the supply chain operations.
  • Expand capacity for processing, aggregation, and distribution of agricultural products to create more and better markets for producers.
  • Modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems.
  • Enhance worker safety through the adoption of new technologies or investment in equipment or facility improvements.
  • Improve the capacity of entities to comply with federal, state, and local food safety requirements.
  • Improve operations through training opportunities.
  • Support the construction of a new facility.
  • Modernize or expand an existing facility (including expansion and modifications to existing buildings and/or construction of new buildings at existing facilities). 
  • Support the construction of wastewater management structures.
  • Modernize processing and manufacturing equipment.
  • Develop, customize, or install equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/or meets one or more of USDA’s climate action goals.
The Department is developing a state plan to establish the priorities for this funding and is seeking feedback from the public for the development of this plan. Interested parties are invited to submit comments here until August 7, 2023.
Additional information on the RFSI program can be found here.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Hosts First Arkansas Farm to School Institute
On July 24, the Arkansas Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program kicked off the first Arkansas Farm to School Institute (Institute) with a 3-day retreat. The Institute is a year-long professional development program where Arkansas farm to school teams develop action plans for the 2023-2024 school year. With the support of a coach, teams will spend the school year putting their plans into action and strengthening their capacity to impact classrooms, cafeterias, and communities, with change that lasts.
The Institute model was developed by Vermont Food Education Every Day (FEED), a collaborative farm to school project of two organizations: the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools. Since 2010, the Institute has been bringing teams together to build relationships, skills, and a collaborative action plan for their school. Learn more about Vermont FEED here.
The retreat was held at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in Morrilton, Arkansas, where five teams from across the state met with their coaches and built plans for the upcoming school year. The teams for this year’s pilot Institute are:

  • Chicot Elementary, Little Rock
  • Hope Academy of Public Service, Hope
  • Manila Elementary, Manila
  • Rena Elementary, Van Buren
  • West Elementary, Batesville
Find photos from the retreat here.
Flood Mitigation Supports Community Growth and Development

The Arkansas Municipal League published a story on flood mitigation in the summer 2023 edition of "City & Town." Whit Montague, Dam Safety Supervisor at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division, provided an interview and explained the importance of flood insurance. Read the story here.
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
The Arkansas Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture provides the perfect opportunity to enrich the connection that communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by initiating changes in food purchasing and education practices within schools.

Read more about the Arkansas Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program in the 2023 edition of Arkansas Grown. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state! With more than 25 features about Arkansas agriculture, there's something for everyone.
Photo Features
On August 2, Secretary Wes Ward attended the 25th Anniversary of Innovative Research at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center. On August 3, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA) held the 2023 Rice Field Day. The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board met during the two-day event where attendees heard updates on the industry and USA Rice and UADA programs.
Representatives from 42 states and Canada visited central Arkansas for the 97th Annual Meeting of the National Plant Board. During the opening session, Secretary Ward welcomed the group to Arkansas. Attendees toured The Nurserie and learned about the garden center and the hydroponic systems used to grow plants on the property. The group also had the opportunity to explore the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts.
From July 28-29, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture attended the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association Annual Convention and Trade Show.
On July 28, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission met during the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association Annual Convention in Hot Springs. Department staff gave updates on animal health, livestock markets, laboratory services, and more. Also introduced at the meeting were the founding deans of two new veterinary schools in the state – Dr. Eleanor Green, Lyon College, and Dr. Glen Hoffsis, Arkansas State University.

On July 25, the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board met in Newport. Board members and attendees heard wheat crop and research funding updates from Dr. Jason Kelley and Dr. Vic Ford of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
Pine Tree Field Day
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will host the 2023 Pine Tree Field Day on August 10, 2023, at the Pine Tree Research Station in Colt, Arkansas. Attendees will register on the day of the event and there is no cost to attend. Find more information here.
Third Annual Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Joint Regional Conference
Prairie View A&M University will host the Third Annual Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SLFR) Joint Conference in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on August 29-30. The free virtual conference supports the SLFR mission, which focuses on assisting African American forest landowners with addressing heir property issues and forest management planning to retain land and build wealth. This conference will host prominent speakers, including local, state, and federal officials. Interested individuals can register here and contact Angela Moore at or Kandi Williams at
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Accepting Applications for Scholarships
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for two scholarship programs for students enrolled in or entering an undergraduate or post-graduate degree program related to agriculture or a post-graduate degree program related to veterinary medicine. Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2023, and can be found here.
USA Rice Leadership Program
The Rice Leadership Development Program is funded by grants from John Deere Company, RiceTec, and American Commodity Company to The Rice Foundation. The USA Rice Federation develops and manages the program on behalf of The Rice Foundation.

The Rice Leadership Development Program gives future leaders a comprehensive understanding of the rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills. The class attends four one-week sessions over a two-year period and workshops designed to strengthen leadership skills.

Applications and recommendations will be accepted until September 8, 2023. Visit here for more information and to apply.
Community Wildfire Defense Grants
The United States Forest Service is accepting applications for the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. The program is designed to assist at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies, and Alaska Native Corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. Applications will be accepted until October 31, 2023. Learn more about the grant and eligibility requirements here.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture's
Annual Report

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report provides information about the Department and how it served Arkansas agriculture, our state's largest industry, from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Click here to view the 2022 Annual Report.
USDA Updates
USDA to Measure Crop Production Throughout the Growing Season
The Monthly Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey U.S. farmers beginning July 29, 2023, 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. Additional information can be found here.
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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Arkansas Ag Facts: Arkansas Catfish Month
Upcoming Agriculture Events
  • Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Meeting, August 9
  • 2024 Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo, January 25-27
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