July 2020
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Launches New Website

The new Arkansas Department of Agriculture website is up and running. The site combines content from each of the Department's Divisions in one, user-friendly location.

The newly designed agriculture.arkansas.gov consolidates the existing websites of the Natural Resources Division, the State Board of Registration for Foresters, and the Arkansas Water Well Construction Commission that were added to the Department under the Transformation Act of 2019.

Developed in partnership with the Information Network of Arkansas, the enhanced website features a fresh, modern look designed to ensure an inclusive user experience across all platforms. Simple navigation powered by a robust search engine allows for quick access to division services and information, and the responsive design ensures the site looks great from any device. Existing online payment services and seedling orders are available on the site, and additional online payment services will be added as they become available. 
USMCA Trade Agreement implemented on July 1

Wednesday, July 1 marked the implementation of a new trade relationship between the United States and its North American neighbors. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) begins a new chapter for trade between the three countries. The agreement is a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) providing stable access to the Canadian and Mexican markets, and increased growth in the U.S. economy.

According to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, USMCA modernizes trade relations between the three countries by:

  • Increasing market access for U.S. agriculture products, especially dairy, eggs, and poultry;
  • Maintaining duty-free access for U.S. agricultural products to Mexico;
  • Modernizing provisions that increase transparency, advance science-based decision making, and creating new mechanisms for resolving issues; and
  • Supporting agricultural innovation, including commitments to enhance North American collaboration on gene editing.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has advocated for an updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico throughout the USMCA negotiation and ratification process. Most recently, in September 2019, NASDA members urged Congress to approve the USMCA expeditiously.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in our trading relationship with our North American neighbors. From increased market access to enhanced regulatory standards, the USMCA delivers critical updates that will pay dividends for American food, agriculture, and forestry producers," said NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn. "USMCA implementation could not have come at a more needed time. Maintaining open markets is essential as the U.S., Canada, and Mexico continue to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. NASDA members are committed to working closely with our federal partners to ensure USMCA is fully implemented and enforced.”

Find more about USMCA's impact on Arkansas here.
USDA Approves Additional Commodities for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced additional commodities have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data.

Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28, 2020, applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks.

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020.

Changes to CFAP include:
  • Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
  • Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
  • Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.
  • Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the  Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)  and   Final Rule Correction  and at  www.farmers.gov/cfap .

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Original eligible commodities include:
  • Non-specialty Crops: malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat
  • Wool
  • Livestock: cattle, hogs, and sheep
  • Dairy
  • Specialty Crops: fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.

The deadline to apply is August 28, 2020.

Arkansas Farm Talk

Mike Linton, Arkansas Farm Talk, hosted Secretary Wes Ward on Fox16 July 1. Watch their 30 minute conversation about agriculture in Arkansas here.
Weekly Market Summary

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture now publishes a 4-page condensed “Weekly Market Summary” that includes the following:

  • 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

The summary will continue to evolve with timely and consolidated news, information, data, and charts. The summary will be available on the Livestock and Poultry Division’s w ebsite and Facebook page s, the Department’s Market Reports w ebpage , and you may sign-up to receive the summary by email at: Subscribe To Notifications And Publications 
Arkansas Ag Heroes

This month the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will be recognizing “Agriculture Heroes” across the state. Be on the lookout for a special campaign coming soon to celebrate all our state’s agriculture producers!
SUSTA Recruiting Webinar

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA), will host a webinar on July 16 at 11:30 am. The webinar will focus on Arkansas exports and SUSTA's provided export programs.

SUSTA is a non-profit organization that facilitates trade between small to medium-sized southern U.S. companies and overseas importers. SUSTA offers two core programs, Global Events and 50% CostShare.

Any company headquartered in Arkansas producing agriculture-based products is welcome to attend the Zoom webinar. It will last approximately an hour. 

Learn more about SUSTA: https://www.susta.org/whoweare/about/
New Facebook Pages

In addition to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division, and Natural Resources Division Facebook presence, Facebook pages have been established for the Plant Industries Division and Livestock and Poultry Division. Be sure to follow and like all of our pages for the latest updates and announcements.

Arkansas Agriculture Thank You Video Series

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture would like to thank everyone who has a part in supporting Arkansas agriculture and our food supply chain. We created two videos to show our appreciation to the people of Arkansas. Arkansans always rise to the challenge, and we are proud to represent and support Arkansas agriculture.
USDA Gives Out $12.1 Million in Largest-Ever
Farm to School Grant Awards

The Trump Administration broke records for the second year in a row by awarding $12.1 million in Farm to School Grants, the most awarded since the grant program's inception, to 159 grantees, the most projects funded to date. These awards, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will help bring fresh, local foods into schools and foster economic opportunity for America’s farmers over the next school year.

Read the full press release here:  https://www.fns.usda.gov/news-item/fns-000720

Arkansas awardees include:

Carroll County Resource Council, Green Forest, Arkansas   - $50,000
The Carroll County Resource Council, in collaboration with the Green Forest Public Schools and Jeremiah House shelter for battered women, will establish a plan to provide locally sourced food to Carroll County schools. The project will work to establish self-sustaining farm-to-school relationships for local food producers and boost schools’ ability to buy locally. In addition, the project will work to identify curriculum resources for integrating agricultural education into classes.

Springdale Public Schools, Springdale, Arkansas - $20,000
This project, which will affect 960 students and families, will mobilize community entities to facilitate an introductory meeting and create an action plan. The project will also extend the agriculture classroom by collaborating with local farmers, non-profits, and the University of Arkansas Animal Science department to provide practical experiences to agriculture students, and increase nutritional literacy by working with the University of Arkansas Animal Science department, local chefs, and area non-profits to teach students how to select, prepare, and serve fresh produce. The practical knowledge gained by students working on a farm will deepen students' understanding of the world's reliance on farmers and inestimable importance of land stewardship. In addition, the project will produce fresh vegetables on the Central Junior High campus for use at the school and in the snack pack program. The feasibility of adding fresh food to the snack pack program will be explored with a local non-profit.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
joins partnership to support
Full Circle FarmCorps Members

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recently partnered with the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas to grow the center’s national service program, Full Circle FarmCorps. Full Circle FarmCorps is a state AmeriCorps program that promotes food security and strengthens communities through farming, teaching, and outreach. This summer 20 AmeriCorps members will serve 675 hours each at school and community gardens throughout Pulaski County.

Joining eight others who began their service term earlier, the 20 new AmeriCorps members will spend 50% of their time at a school and 50% of their time at a community space where they will support gardens, teach nutrition, and engage volunteers.

The AmeriCorps members will be serving at the following sites: Immaculate Conception, Lake Nixon Preschool, Pulaski Heights Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Dunbar Community Garden, Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, Heifer International Urban Farm, North Little Rock Fit 2 Live, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Centennial Garden, Woodruff Community Garden, Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light, and the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas. At these sites, members will serve on teams to grow gardens, leverage volunteers, and educate children through Growing My Plate, a curriculum created by Apple Seeds, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and UAMS.
Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program debuts New Website

Congratulations to the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program on their new website, https://www.abwep.org/ . The website launched June 19 with a ribbon-cutting by Secretary Wes Ward.

This new website is one of, if not the most, advanced websites in the entire US Boll Weevil Eradication Program System. Arkansas cotton producers now have a digitally centralized location to receive information about the program. State cotton growers can access information managed by the program about their operations and pay their assessments safely and securely online.

In the future, the foundation plans to integrate more grower tools into this platform to enhance growers' experience using the application.
NASF 2020 Awards Nomination Period Open

The National Association of State Foresters Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the following 2020 NASF Awards: 

  • Michael Buck Outstanding Service Award for Forest Public Policy
  • Pete Anderson Current Achievement Award for Fire Protection
  • Ken Arney Current Achievement Award for Forest Resource Management
  • Steven Scott Current Achievement Award for Urban Forestry
  • Leah MacSwords Current Achievement Award for Communications
  • Jeff Jahnke Current Achievement Award for Leadership
  • John Shannon Current Achievement Award for Partnerships
  • James Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award

Click here to access the online awards nomination form.   Only nominations submitted on or before Sunday, August 16, 2020  through this online form will be considered. Descriptions of the awards and guidelines for selection are included on the first page of the online form.
Given that the 2020 NASF Annual Meeting will be held virtually this year, the 2020 awards program will be shortened considerably. To ensure that this year's winners receive the recognition they deserve, their awards will be presented in person at the 2021 NASF Annual Meeting. More details about this year's virtual meeting and next year's meeting in Pittsburgh are forthcoming.
Questions should be directed to NASF Communications Director Whitney Forman-Cook at [email protected] .
Recognizing Arkansas
School Meal Service during
the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Department wants to recognize Arkansas schools who continued meal services during COVID-19 closures. The school district child nutrition departments in Arkansas went above and beyond serving students since the pandemic began. In Arkansas, 90% of our schools remained open and provided meals to any child 18 and under, compared to only 30% nationally. The hard work of the child nutrition directors, staff, volunteers, and teams is sincerely appreciated!
Homegrown by Heroes Scholarships Awarded

Congratulations to the two students named as recipients of the Homegrown by Heroes scholarship program sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

Taylor John Brandt, who attends the University of Arkansas, and Gavin Sparks, who plans to attend Mississippi State University, will each receive $1,500 for the fall 2020 semester.

The Homegrown by Heroes academic scholarship program is open to military veterans, currently serving military personnel, their spouses, and children who are pursuing an agricultural or an agricultural-related degree. Funding for the scholarships is generously provided by Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. The selection of scholarship recipients was based on academic achievement, community involvement, extracurricular activities, financial need, and family circumstances.
Feral Hog Eradication Program on Arkansas AgCast

Arkansas Farm Bureau featured J.P. Fairhead, Feral Hog Eradication Task Force Coordinator, on the June 4 AgCast. Listen to it here.
Forestry Division Honors Two Employees, Recognizes Two Retirements

Two Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry employees recently received awards for their hard work with the Forestry Division.

Left: Joe Fox, State Forester, presented Tabitha Holloway, Fulton and Sharp County Forester, with the Spencer Fox Award, the highest honor from the Arkansas Forestry Division. The Spencer Fox Award is given to the individual that shows outstanding performance and professionalism in the Division.

Right: Kenney Coley, White County Forest Ranger, received the Career Achievement Award. Career Achievement is awarded to individuals that have proven themselves throughout their entire career.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture had two retirements from the Forestry Division in June.

Fred Burnett, Staff Forester, worked almost 4 years with the Forestry Division and came to us from Camp Robinson where he worked for 9 years. In the past, he was also a teacher.

Danny Crumley, Forest Ranger III from Independence County, served the state of Arkansas for 20 years as a part of the Forestry Division.

Left photo (left to right): Joe Fox, Kevin Kilcrease, Secretary Wes Ward, Fred Burnett, and Robert Murphy; Right photo (left to right): Danny Crumley and Mike Mowery
Epidemiological Investigation

Dr. Randy Chick, State Veterinarian, and Eber McClure collected samples from a flock of chickens as part of an epidemiological investigation. This flock had tested positive for a couple of reportable diseases. Dr. Chick and McClure were determining the severity, source of introduction, threats to other flocks in the area, and options for the owner moving forward. It is very important for owners of backyard flocks to get birds sourced from clean flocks, use caution when introducing birds to their flock from unknown origin, and practice good biosecurity.

As we navigate through these unprecedented times, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture encourages Arkansans to support local, support each other, and support Arkansas agriculture. One way you can show your support is by joining our  #WeARCovered  campaign to show us how you are stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Update your Facebook profile picture with a photo of yourself wearing a face mask and use our Facebook photo frame. When you go to upload a new photo, select "add frame" and then search the frames for "WeARCovered." Add the frame, tag the Department in your photo, and we'll share it!
2020 Arkansas Farm Families of the Year

Congratulations to all of the county and district winners of the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program. The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with selection of the top farm families in each county and culminates with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year, who go on to represent Arkansas in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition. 

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognize outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm Family of the Year program are:
  • To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community;
  • To recognize the importance of agriculture in the community and state; and
  • To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

The state winner will be chosen in December.
COVID-19 Resources

The Department has produced numerous shareable and printable COVID-19 resources. We invite and encourage use of all resources which can be found on our COVID-19 Resource page , including:

Department COVID-19 resources can also be found on our social media platforms: Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram
Arkansas Grown School Garden Contest 2020

School entries are being accepted for the seventh annual Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Applicants may be any Arkansas school, grades pre-K through 12, that had a school garden open during the 2019-2020 school year, or any school planning to start a garden in the 2020-2021 school year.

The contest runs through Sunday, September 13, 2020. Online entry forms and program requirements are available at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture-programs/ . Winners will be announced at the Farm to School Celebration in October.
Governor Asa Hutchinson declared June 22-28 to be Arkansas Pollinator Week! Check out this video on the pollinator garden at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
Find the Governor's proclamation here.
Be sure to check out our newest video message about Farmers Markets and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic! If you are l ooking for fresh, local vegetables, fruit, meat, and flowers, then stop by one of the many farmers markets across the state! Find the closest one to you at   https://www.arkansasgrown.org/
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Arkansas Ag Fact: Chicken

  • National Fried Chicken Day is July 6, and July 29 is National Chicken Wing Day.
  • Arkansas is nationally ranked 2nd in broiler chicken production.
  • Poultry is the leading agricultural industry in Arkansas, providing over 163,000 jobs in the state.
  • In 2019, 1.73 billion pounds of chicken meat was inspected by Arkansas poultry inspectors.
  • In 2018, the poultry industry in Arkansas provided $4.9 billion (53.8%) of the total agriculture cash receipts for the state.