Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Approves American Rescue Plan Act Funding Distribution
The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) approved $270 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding distribution at its meeting on Friday, December 2, 2022. A total of 157 projects will receive funding across 58 counties. A full list of the awarded projects can be found here.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “In January, I laid out my “W.I.N.S. in 2022” initiative. One of those initiatives was infrastructure. We know that there is a large water and wastewater infrastructure need throughout the state and I am delighted to see the announcement today regarding funding distributions through the American Rescue Plan Act to help address this statewide need.”

Governor Hutchinson established the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Steering Committee through Executive Order 21-08 to make recommendations on the best use of ARPA funding provided to the state. In June of 2021, a working group for water and other infrastructure projects was formed to make a recommendation to the ARPA steering committee.

The Working Group conducted an extensive assessment of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater needs across the state. Based on over 1,400 responses, an overall water infrastructure need of $5.2 billion was identified. On August 31, 2021, the working group submitted a final report to the ARPA Steering Committee. A timeline, eligibility requirements, and scoring criteria were also developed and included in the report.

On July 27, 2022, a House and Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee met to hear statewide water and wastewater needs and the Department’s proposed ARPA funding plan.
On August 18, 2022, the American Rescue Plan Steering Committee approved $270 million to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects and $10 million for irrigation projects.

On September 13, 2022, the PEER Committee reviewed the ARPA funding proposal for water and wastewater. On September 16, 2022, the Arkansas Legislative Council approved the full $270 million for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects to be administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission.

The Department issued a press release and opened the application period on September 16, 2022. Applications were accepted until November 4, 2022. Seven application assistance meetings were scheduled across the state to provide guidance and assistance to applicants.


A total of 882 applications were received and included at least 1 application from each county within the State. The applications submitted were as follows:
The projects were scored by representatives of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division, Arkansas Department of Health, and Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment’s Division of Environmental Quality. A total of 157 projects across 58 counties were recommended for funding. A total of 412 unique entities submitted applications and 119 different entities received funding for water and/or wastewater. Fourteen entities received funding for at least one drinking water and one wastewater application. A breakdown of the projects is provided below for Drinking Water and Wastewater/Stormwater. A map displaying the locations of all applications and approved projects can be found here.

Drinking Water
Based on the evaluation criteria, 105 drinking water projects were approved with a total award of $134,673,713. The projects will serve approximately 170,139 customers. The average Median Household Income (MHI) for the awarded projects is $34,218/year. Statistics for the 105 projects are provided below:

  • 12 projects will result in partial or complete consolidation/regionalization of water systems.
  • 22 projects will result in the extension of water service to underserved portions of the state.
  • 43 projects will result in a reduction in the use of groundwater.
  • 56 projects directly affect communities deemed disadvantaged based on their MHI and water bill.
  • 62 projects will address regulatory consent orders or other compliance issues.
  • 74 projects are in counties with more than 5% population decline during the previous decade.

Based on the evaluation criteria, 52 wastewater projects were approved with a total award of $135,326,287. The projects will serve approximately 283,152 customers. The average Median Household Income (MHI) for the awarded projects is $42,533/year. Statistics for the 52 projects are provided below:

  • 6 projects will result in the extension of wastewater service to underserved portions of the state.
  • 10 projects will result in partial or complete consolidation/regionalization of wastewater systems.
  • 18 projects will improve water quality by reducing infiltration and inflow of wastewater.
  • 21 projects will improve water quality in a currently impaired waterbody.
  • 27 projects are in counties with more than 5% population decline during the previous decade.
  • 36 projects will address regulatory consent orders or other compliance issues.
  • 42 projects will improve water quality in a watershed used for drinking water.
  • 44 projects will reduce nutrients with 22 projects directly treating for nutrients.

Projects awarded funding will have to meet match requirements, if required, and start construction by December 31, 2023. All construction is to be completed by December 31, 2026.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division will administer the awarded funding. The deadline for construction completion is December 2026.

Applicants not receiving ARPA funding are encouraged to continue to work with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division to determine current and future funding alternatives, including funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Under the IIJA, Arkansas will receive an increase to its State Revolving Fund (SRF) of $528 million over 5 years for water and wastewater funding. Less than half of this amount (approximately $228 million) will be available for traditional water and wastewater projects during that time for low interest loans and principal forgiveness. The remaining 58% can only be used for lead service line replacement or to treat emerging contaminants. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division will use these funds to provide additional assistance to water and wastewater systems across the state.

Applications for funding to include IIJA funds are available on the Department’s website here. The same application and process for the standard State Revolving Fund program will also be used for the IIJA funds. Applications are open now and funding will be available in July 2023.

With existing programs, IIJA, and current ARPA funding, the Department anticipates total funding over five years to be $618,876,087, with $404,404,313 in grants or principal forgiveness.
Avian Influenza Confirmed in Third Arkansas Poultry Flock; Producers Urged to Take Precautions
Testing has confirmed a case of avian influenza in a backyard flock in Arkansas County that had shown increased mortality over the course of several days.

This is the third case of avian influenza in Arkansas this year. Earlier this year the Department confirmed cases of avian
influenza on a poultry farm in Madison County and on a farm in Pope County.

“We will continue to work with poultry growers, the industry, and our laboratory partners to protect against the spread of avian influenza,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “Arkansas poultry is safe to eat, and consumers can be confident in the safety of their food.”

“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is urging poultry owners to increase biosecurity measures on their operations in response to several reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds along the Mississippi Flyway,” said Patrick Fisk, Livestock and Poultry Division Director.

Avian influenza is an airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among chickens through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. There is no public health concern, and avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat.

To mitigate the disease risk from contact with the birds or their droppings, the Livestock and Poultry Division strongly recommends taking the following steps for the next 30 days, especially within the Delta area:

  • Keep your birds indoors or covered to prevent exposure to wild or migratory birds.
  • Restrict access to any source of water that may have been contaminated by wild birds.
  • Implement strict biosecurity on the premises. Alert all farm personnel of the increased risk of HPAI. Especially focusing on biosecurity methods to prevent exposure to wild waterfowl or their droppings.

All poultry flock owners are encouraged to follow the strictest biosecurity on their farms to prevent the spread of the disease. Those steps include:

  • Limit, monitor, and record any movement of people, vehicles, or animals on or off your farm.
  • Permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm to limit the chances of bringing the virus from an outside source.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms and any unnecessary travel off the farm.
  • Disinfect equipment, vehicles, footwear, and other items that come into contact with flocks.
  • Keep your flock away from wild or migratory birds, especially waterfowl.
  • Isolate any ill animals and contact your veterinarian.

For more information on avian influenza visit here and for information on protecting poultry, visit
here. Backyard flock owners who have sick or unusual deaths in their flocks should email or call (501) 823-1746.

Additional background
Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl and wild birds, such as ducks, geese, raptors, and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1–N9). Many
different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be further broken down into different strains which circulate within flyways/geographic regions. AI viruses are further classified by their pathogenicity (low or high)—the ability of a particular virus strain to produce disease in domestic poultry.
Governor Hutchinson Declares November 20-26 as Arkansas Turkey Week
Governor Hutchinson joined the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, industry partners, and agriculture leaders in declaring November 20-26 as Arkansas Turkey Week. The Arkansas Turkey Week proclamation highlights the state’s turkey industry and its value to Arkansas’s economy and agriculture industry. The full proclamation can be found here.

“The poultry industry is one of Arkansas’s many great success stories. We put turkeys on tables all over the United States,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Our ranking as the third-largest producer of turkeys is testimony to the hard work of our farmers.”

Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, providing more than $19 billion in value to Arkansas’s economy annually. The Arkansas poultry industry leads Arkansas’s agricultural sector with almost 50 percent of the state’s agricultural cash receipts.

“Arkansas produces 27 million turkeys per year, which provides over 540 million pounds of protein annually,” said Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “We are thankful for the farmers who provide this protein throughout the entire year.”

Holly Duval, director of marketing and business development with The Poultry Federation, added that Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to recognize everyone involved in the Arkansas turkey industry.

“Thank you to our dedicated farmers, who raise 27 million turkeys per year, and industry leaders, like Cargill and Butterball, for their impact on our state,” said Duval.

Learn more about the turkey industry in Arkansas and its economic impact here.

Photos from the proclamation ceremony can be found here.
Feral Hog Eradication Task Force Update
The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in October 2022 and removed over 424 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of 160 feral hogs last month.

Learn more about the Task Force and its efforts here.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is Hiring!
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.

Visit or check out our Facebook pages for open positions in Shared Services, Forestry, Livestock and Poultry, Plant Industries, and Natural Resources!
Take Me Home for the Holidays
Are you interested in handmade gifts such as pottery, candles, jewelry, and health & beauty products made right here in the Natural State?

This holiday season, skip the big box retail stores and shop local with Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made. Learn more about the Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made programs here and follow along on social media to see featured producers each week like Puddin Ridge Fibers, Natural State Lavender Co., and Bentley Plastics.
2022 Arkansas Grown
In the United States, it takes an average of four to six years to complete a baccalaureate program. Going straight into college is not always the best option for some students, and many can benefit from obtaining a certification degree in high school to enter the workforce.

Read more about agribusiness options for Arkansas youth in the 2022 edition of Arkansas Grown. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state.
Photo Features
The Department hosted visitors from the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) chapters of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The group also included the 2023 Arkansas Miss United States Agriculture and representatives from Arkansas Lighthouse Charter Schools, Inc., Jr. MANRRS, a Department of Agriculture Scholarship recipient, and the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Find additional photos from the visit here.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's annual Christmas tree, donated by Daithi Dubh, a forestry trainee for District 8, was delivered on November 28.
Pictured from left: Chandler Barton, division forester; Jack Coy, forest ranger; Robert Floyd, conservation programs forester; Daithi Dubh, forestry trainee; Joe Fox, Arkansas State Forester; Scott Bray, Plant Industries Division Director; Patrick Fisk, Livestock and Poultry Division Director.
The tree was decorated with handmade ornaments crafted by each Division within the Department.
In November, Harold Fisher and Krissy Kimbro of the Forestry Division attended the national meeting of Federal Program Managers and State Urban & Community Forestry Coordinators in Seattle, Washington.
In celebration of Arkansas Turkey Week, Jacob Bates, apiary inspector for the Plant Industries Division brought his award-winning turkey to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture headquarters.

Plant Industries Division Director Scott Bray presented John Lansdale, produce safety program manager, a certificate of recognition for 44 years of service upon retirement from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
Arkansas School Garden Grant Program
The deadline to apply for the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program and the Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program is Thursday, December 15, 2022!

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will award 50 School Garden Grants of $500 and 20 Taste Test Grants of $250 to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments to start/ expand their garden program or host cafeteria taste tests.

Grant recipients will receive funding as well as technical assistance from the Department. Find more information on the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program or apply here. Find more information on the Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program or apply here.
LeadAR Class 20 Applications Open
The applications for the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service's LeadAR Class 20 are now open.

LeadAR is a program designed to help Arkansans broaden their understanding of issues and opportunities facing our state and strengthen their ability to make a difference. Learn more about the program here.

The application deadline is Friday, February 24, 2023. Click here to apply.
Improving Biosecurity- Defend the Flock
Visit here to learn more about the Defend the Flock program and how to improve biosecurity in your operation.
Save the Date: Arkansas Grown Conference
Mark your calendars! The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Grown program is partnering with Arkansas agriculture associations and organizations to host the first Arkansas Grown Conference & Expo. This event is open to all parties interested in the Arkansas agriculture industry and will focus on farmers and producers who are committed to our local food system. Conference speakers will cover topics such as legal issues, business management, connecting with buyers, and more!

If you are interested in sponsoring the conference or having a vendor booth, click here. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2022.

The registration deadline is January 11, 2023. Register here.

Read more about the conference 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
2022 Census of Agriculture
Last month, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) mailed out a unique survey code to every known ag producer in the U.S. with an invitation to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture online. The paper questionnaire will follow in December with the option to respond online, by mail, or telephone.

The ag census includes every operation – large or small, urban or rural – from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or would normally be produced and sold, in the ag census year. A complete count, with every producer taking the opportunity to be represented in these widely used and influential data, is vital. The data influence business and supply chain logistics and inform policy and program decisions that directly impact producers, their operations, and communities. For more information, click here.

Find the latest ag census information here.
USDA to Collect Final 2022 Crop Production and Crop Stocks Data
As the 2022 growing season officially comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds they have stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine December 1 grain and oilseed stocks. Read the full release from USDA here.
Thank a Farmer this Harvest Season
As we wrap up the harvest season and slide into the holiday season, let's take a moment to thank our farmers for our favorite holiday commodities and for completing their USDA-NASS Census of Agriculture that provide data about U.S. agriculture.

Read more from USDA 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.
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.
Arkansas Ag Facts: Arkansas Century Farm Program
  • Agriculture is Arkansas's largest industry, contributing more than $19 billion to the state's economy annually.
  • Arkansas has 42,000 farms and 96 percent are family owned.
  • The Arkansas agriculture industry's achievements would not be possible without the dedicated, efficient, and innovative Arkansas farm families who work tirelessly to provide food, fiber, and shelter at home and abroad.
  • The Arkansas Century Farm Program was established in 2012 to honor farm families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. These farms represent Arkansas's rich agricultural heritage and highlight the deep family ties and important historical relevance of agriculture in the Natural State.
  • Since 2012, over 550 Arkansas farms and families have been inducted into the Arkansas Century Farm Program, including 33 farms inducted in October 2022.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
Opt-in to receive email notifications (board meeting notices, newsletters, etc.)
from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.