July 2019

July 1 marked the day of transformation for the Agriculture Department which is now named the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. It also marked the day that additional boards and commissions will fall under the department in accordance with the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019. The following boards and commissions have joined the Forestry Commission, State Plant Board, and Livestock and Poultry Commission under the Department of Agriculture:
  • Natural Resources Commission
  • State Board of Registration for Foresters
  • State Board of Registration for Professional Soil Classifiers
  • Veterinary Medical Examining Board
Governor Asa Hutchinson hosted the first meeting of his new cabinet secretaries, including Secretary Ward, on July 8.

"These 15 individuals are integral in carrying out my vision for this historic transformation of state government," Hutchinson said. "I’m confident the taxpayer will be better served as a result of their leadership."
Levee Task Force

Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward, and Director of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Bruce Holland, were appointed by Governor Asa Hutchison to the Arkansas Levee Task Force to study and analyze the levee system, as well as determine requirements for funding the construction, repair and maintenance of the levee system. The task force will also examine the monitoring and reporting systems for levee maintenance and evaluate current laws regarding the levees. Secretary Ward and Director Holland join 23 other members on the task force which must submit a report to the governor by December 31, 2019. Read more about the Levee Task Force here .
Arkansas Dairy Month

Governor Asa Hutchinson  presented a Dairy Month proclamation during a ceremony at the Capitol June 11 to celebrate Dairy Month in Arkansas. More than 500 farm families are involved in the dairy industry, contributing more than $300 million to the state's economy annually.
Secretary Ward Elected Vice-President of SASDA

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward was elected vice-president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA) for 2019-20 during its annual conference, June 9-12, in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It’s a great honor to be elected as vice-president of SASDA,” said Ward. “I am proud to represent Arkansas within the organization and look forward to helping lead the 16 southern states and territories in promoting southern agriculture at the federal level.”

SASDA is made up of the commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ward will host SASDA’s annual conference in Arkansas in 2021.
Keeping it in the Family

Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Commission participated in the "Keeping it in the Family" forest field day, June 1, hosted by  UAPB - School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences . Attendees learned about best forest management practices, site preparation and reforestation, thinning and pruning, field technology, and conservation programs.

For more information on the program, check out our website here .
Pollinator Week

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture celebrated Pollinator Week June 17-23 with employees working in the department's pollinator garden. Hear from two of the employees responsible for the garden's care and learn more about the importance of pollinators from entomologists here .
Urban and Community Forestry Grants Open For Proposals Through July 20
The Department of Agriculture's Forestry Commission is now accepting 2019 Urban and Community Forestry Program grant applications through July 20, 2019. Grants are available to fund community projects that develop or improve public tree management and maintenance. Read more about the program here .  
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Employees
Your Arkansas Department of Agriculture employees were out in full force during the Arkansas River flooding providing assistance everywhere they could, from levee patrols to manning an animal shelter for displaced pets to assisting with bee hive relocation. Their work was greatly appreciated across the state.
Municipal League

Kenneth Cole and Harold Fisher provided information about urban forestry and other services of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Commission at the 85th Convention of the Municipal League, which gives officials the opportunity to discuss problems of common interest and to learn of new developments and techniques in local government and public administration. Find more information about Urban and Community Forestry here .
School Garden of the Year Contest
Open Through August 30

School entries are being accepted for the sixth annual Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit. Applicants may be any Arkansas school, grades pre-K through 12, that had a school garden open during the 2018-2019 school year, or any schools planning to start a garden in the 2019-2020 school year. Read more
Veterinary Medical Exam

Dr. Chick and Dr. Summers from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture provided material prior to an exam June 20 for 35 veterinarians to become licensed in Arkansas. The exam was held at the  University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture - Extension (UAEX)  in Little Rock. This is an annual event of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
All American
National Junior Brahman Show

Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward, and Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Director of Livestock and Poultry Commission, Patrick Fisk, attended  American Junior Brahman Association 's All American National Junior Brahman Show July 1 at the  Four States Fair & Rodeo  Fairgrounds in Texarkana.
Disaster Response and Assistance

Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward, and staff from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture hosted a meeting with USDA agencies, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Agricultural Council of Arkansas, state legislators, congressional offices, Arkansas Rice Federation, Arkansas Soybean Association and other agriculture partners to discuss disaster response and assistance June 17.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has a web-page set up here to provide links to resources and information as Arkansans work to recover.
Arkansas Grown Magazine

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture exists to serve and promote Arkansas agriculture, our state’s largest industry. Our goal with each edition of Arkansas Grown is to provide you an overview of the breadth and diversity of Arkansas agriculture and the families that make the industry possible.
Arkansas Ag Fact: Farmers Markets

  • Farmers Markets across the U.S. play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support the sustainability of family farms and revitalize rural communities.
  • More than two-thirds of Arkansas counties have at least one Farmers Market.
  • More than 100 known Arkansas Farmers Markets are important outlets for agricultural producers, connecting them to consumers who are increasingly more interested in investing in locally sourced products.
  • 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.
  • Farmers Market Week is August 4-10.

Source: USDA