$1.7 Million To Fund Local Projects in Cache River Area
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is pleased to announce the approval of $1.7 million in funding to implement nutrient reduction related projects that support the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force’s program. The goal of the Task Force’s program is to assist states in implementing nutrient loss reduction strategies through voluntary, non-regulatory programs.
The Department’s Natural Resources Division has partnered with Arkansas State University, The Nature Conservancy, and local drainage districts in Northeast Arkansas to restructure channelized ditches to allow for more natural assimilation of nutrients. Additional benefits to local producers include reduced localized flooding and on-farm sediment loss. Ditch construction and water quality monitoring is slated as a five-year project. An additional $3.7 million will be awarded for fiscal years 2024 through 2027. Future projects will focus on innovative, voluntary conservation practices that benefit producers and water quality.
Arkansas is one of twelve states participating in the Task Force working to reduce the size of a hypoxic zone, an area with reduced oxygen levels, in the Gulf of Mexico. The hypoxic zone is formed by excessive nutrients causing algae blooms and when these blooms decay, micro-bacteria consume the oxygen. This ultimately results in an area approximately one-tenth the size of Arkansas that is unsuitable for aquatic life.
Visit here to learn more about the Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy and voluntary efforts that local producers are actively implementing. For more information about the Gulf Hypoxia Program, contact Tate Wentz at tate.wentz@agriculture.arkansas.gov
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Hosts “Free Tree Fridays” in Recognition of Arbor Day
In recognition of National Arbor Day, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division will be hosting giveaways of bare root seedlings at various locations across the state each Friday from March 17 through April 28.
“Adding trees to your yard or to a community forest is beneficial to all Arkansans, and Spring is an excellent time to plant trees,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Forestry Division. “With these Arbor Day celebration giveaways, we hope to provide all Arkansans with access to the many benefits trees provide.”
Although species will vary by location, all seedlings will be native Arkansas hardwoods grown at the Forestry Division’s Baucum Nursery. The giveaway will be limited to three seedlings per person on a first come, first served basis. The giveaways will be hosted at various locations across the state. Following is a listing of locations and times currently scheduled:
March 17
  • Little Rock – Arkansas Department of Agriculture, 1 Natural Resources Drive: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Osceola – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office, 3137 W. Keiser Avenue: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
March 24
  • Morrilton – Wal-Mart, 1621 S. Business 9: 10 A.M. – 12 P.M.
March 31
  • Walnut Ridge – Lawrence County Extension Office, 1100 W. Main Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Pocahontas – American Made General Store, 1100 Pace Road: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Wynne – Wynne Fire Department, 1111 Falls Boulevard: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
April 7
  • Batesville – Riverside Park, 1770 Chaney Drive: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Hot Springs – Garland County Library, 1427 Malvern Avenue: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Greenbrier – Greenbrier City Hall, 11 Wilson Farm Road: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
April 14
  • Warren – Warren City Park, 400 W. Church Street, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Alma – Alma Public Library, 624 Fayetteville Avenue: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

April 21
  • Sheridan – The Mad Butcher, 815 Rock Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Additional locations will be added throughout the month. Visit here for more information.
JACO Meats and Arkansas State University Announced as First State-Inspected Meat Processing Facilities
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is pleased to announce that JACO Meats in Hope, Arkansas, and the Arkansas State University (ASU) Meat Market in Jonesboro, Arkansas are the first two facilities licensed by the Arkansas Meat Inspection Program.

The Arkansas Meat Inspection Program was authorized by Act 418 during the 2021 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly and was finalized through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The program allows the Department to inspect meat products for shipment within Arkansas.

“The establishment of state-inspected processing facilities at JACO Meats and the ASU Meat Market is great news for Arkansas consumers and the state’s agriculture industry,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We are hopeful that this program will continue to expand and increase the availability of locally-sourced meat and meat products for Arkansans.”

Arkansas is one of 28 states participating in FSIS’s State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs. These programs allow state inspectors to ensure program enforcement and regulatory compliance in small establishments operating within the state. The MPI programs must develop, administer, and enforce requirements “at least equal to” those set forth in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).

The need for additional meat processing capacity was highlighted by food supply chain disruptions
caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Department worked with the Arkansas legislature and industry stakeholders to receive and distribute $10.4 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Arkansas Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program. JACO Meats and the ASU Meat Market received funding through the Arkansas Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program in 2020.

Visit here for more information on program requirements or to apply.
Poultry Feeding Operations Registration Deadline: March 31
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division's Conservation Section, in coordination with conservation districts across the state, administers the Poultry Feeding Operations Registration Program.

The program registration period begins January 1 and concludes March 31 each year. Each producer is required by state law to register their poultry operation with their local conservation district if there were 2,500 or more poultry housed or confined at any time during the previous calendar year.

Visit here to learn more about the Poultry Feeding Operations Registration Program.
Field to Film: Career Snapshot | Dr. Hunter Biram
The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board shared a video highlighting the career of Dr. Hunter Biram, crop extension economist at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Watch the video on YouTube here.

Learn more about Dr. Biram and his passion for Arkansas agriculture here.
National Weights and Measures Week Celebrates 224 Years of Consumer Protection
When states around the nation celebrate national Weights and Measures Week from March 1-7, many do not realize there once was a time in the U.S. where each state had its own system for weighing and measuring consumer products. The unification of how everything from produce to lumber to electric vehicle chargers is weighed and measured started with the nation’s second president, John Adams, signing the federal Weights and Measures law on March 2, 1799.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM), a professional nonprofit association of state and local officials, federal agencies, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, began developing the weights and measure standards for commerce in 1905.

“America is the world’s top consumer society, and everything we buy is sold by weight and measure,” said NCWM Chairman Mahesh Albuquerque. “People often don’t think about who makes sure the grocery store scale is calibrated correctly, or whether the fuel pump is dispensing accurately. That level of consumer confidence is our job, and we do it with pride. National Weights and Measures Week is an opportunity to recognize the importance of the very foundation of our economy and our American measurement system.”

Weights and measures inspectors operate according to state and local rules and regulations and the model standards as adopted by NCWM, published by U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. Those model standards used by inspectors are called Handbooks 44, 130, and 133. They encompass and guide state and local laws as well as the highly sophisticated tools that aid inspectors in their work.

The mission of the National Conference on Weights and Measures is to ensure equity through uniform standards in a changing marketplace. The organization brings the right interests together to keep pace with innovative advancements in the marketplace. 

The NCWM promotes consistency in the laws and standards for U.S. Weights and Measures to ensure goods are weighed and measured correctly. By promoting standardized business practices, transparency is achieved between buyers and sellers in the marketplace. This in turn achieves consumer confidence and allows U.S. businesses to compete at home and abroad, ultimately strengthening our economy.

Learn more about Weights and Measures Week and the NCWM here. Visit here to learn more about the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Weights and Measures Program.
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
The latest edition of the Arkansas Grown magazine is here! With more than 25 features about Arkansas agriculture, there's something for everyone. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state!

We featured Origami Sake in the 2023 edition of Arkansas Grown where we highlight the partnership between owners, Matt Bell and Ben Bell, and Isbell Farms, and how they're using Arkansas-grown rice to brew their sake. Origami Sake, a new sake facility located in Hot Springs, has been contributing to the sake boom currently underway in the United States. The story can be found on page 74 of the magazine.

Origami Sake was also recently featured in a story published by the New York Times. The new 24,000 square-foot brewery will be the largest U.S.-owned brewery, with the capacity to brew one million liters per year. Read the featured article here.
Photo Features
The Arkansas Ag Hall of Fame inducted Class XXXV on March 3 at the Little Rock Convention Center. Inductees (pictured right, from left) are: Ellis Bell of Forrest City, Chris Isbell of Humnoke, Bert Greenwalt of Jonesboro, Steve Stevens of Tillar, and the daughter of the late Jessie (J.D.) Vaught of Horatio. Additional photos can be found here. Photo credit: Arkansas Farm Bureau.
Senator John Boozman hosted two Farm Bill Listening Sessions in Arkansas in February. The first (left) was held in Fort Smith and the second (right) was held on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus with Congressman Bruce Westerman joining. The listening sessions allowed Senator Boozman and Congressman Westerman to hear from Arkansas farmers directly in regard to the upcoming 2023 farm bill.
Dr. Homer Wilkes, United States Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, visited Baucum Nursery on February 24th. During the visit, Dr. Wilkes heard about the history of seedling production at Baucum Nursery and the mission of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division Reforestation Program. Dr. Wilkes also had the chance to tour the nursery and hear from several people including Secretary Wes Ward, State Forester Joe Fox, State Conservationist Mike Sullivan, Baucum Nursery Manager James Shelton, and representatives from The KKAC Organization.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation hosted the 2023 Farmers Day at the Capitol on March 2nd where farmers ensured that their voice was heard by Arkansas legislators. Visit here to see additional pictures from the event. Photo credit: Arkansas Farm Bureau.
18 participants from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division are now trained to offer Wildlife Risk Reduction Qualification training to certified arborists in their areas. The qualification provides arborists a method for assessing the current status of a home and nearby landscaping in terms of reducing the risk of ignition due to wildfires.
February 23rd was #GiveFFADay and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Camp Couchdale to celebrate. Secretary Ward spoke with the FFA state officer team about the role that FFA plays in ensuring the future of the agriculture industry. On Give FFA Day, the Arkansas FFA Foundation raised a total of $74,845, ranking 2nd nationally in dollars raised!

Agriculture and forestry law enforcement agencies from eight states, including Arkansas, attended a wildland fire investigation case development course. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Law Enforcement team hosted the course at the Embassy Suites in downtown Little Rock.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
AgDiscovery Applications Open
Applications are now open for the AgDiscovery program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). This two-week summer outreach program aims to help students learn about careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness, regulatory science, and plant pathology.

Participants, ages 14-17, live on UAPB’s campus and learn about agricultural science from university professors, practicing veterinarians, and professionals working for the U.S. government. Students chosen for AgDiscovery participate in hands-on labs, workshops, field trips, and other activities. The program is sponsored by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Find more information and application instructions here. Read about the 2022 AgDiscovery program in this year's edition of Arkansas Grown here.
Think Green, Give Green
March 17th is a day to support Arkansas 4-H!

Arkansas 4-H provides not only hands-on educational opportunities about health, science, technology and citizenship, it is also a great source of scholarships for students looking to attend two- and four-year colleges and universities. There are approximately 700 clubs across the state and there is no cost to join.

You can donate online here, or new this year is the ability to donate by texting AR4H to 44321. More information can be found here.
Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest Accepting Artwork
Once again, the Arkansas Wildlife Federation (AWF) and Creative Ideas have come together to promote wildlife education through the arts in the annual Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest. For the 2023 contest, students from kindergarten through 12th grade will submit artwork online through a portal on the AWF website, found here. Applications will be accepted through March 31st.
Internship Opportunities
The Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services is now accepting applications for the Summer 2023 MyARInternship. This internship offers a wide variety of career fields to experience such as finance, social work, technology, public health, engineering, business, public safety, communications, education, research, cybersecurity, compliance, legal, marketing, environment, administration, real estate services, tourism, and emergency management. Find eligibility requirements and more information here.
Applications are now being accepted for a summer internship opportunity with Senator Boozman’s Minority Staff on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The application deadline is Friday, March 17, no later than 5:00 p.m. CT. Click here to apply or for more information.
Basics of High Tunnel Production Workshop
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Southwest Research and Extension Center will host a workshop on high tunnel production in Hope on March 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Topics will include the EQIP High Tunnel Incentive Program, crop selection and sustaining productivity, a Q&A with horticulture specialists, and much more. There is no cost, but pre-register to reserve a spot. Pre-register online here or by calling the Hempstead County Extension Office at (870) 777-5771.
Outstanding Teacher of the Year Applications Open

Do you know of a teacher doing a great job with Ag in the Classroom? You can nominate them for Arkansas Ag in the Classroom Outstanding Teacher of the Year! Nominations are open until April 1. For more information or to download an application click 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
1890 National Scholars Program Now Accepting Applications
The 1890 National Scholars Program is currently open to high school seniors entering their freshman year of college, and rising college sophomores and juniors until March 15, 2023. The 1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and 1890 Land-Grant Universities which provides full tuition, employment, employee benefits, fees, books, and room and board each year for up to 4 years to select students. To view the applicant guidebook click here. To apply using the new 2023 E-application, click here.
Census of Agriculture Responses Accepted Through the Spring
There's still time to respond to the Census of Agriculture, a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land - whether rural or urban - growing fruit, vegetables, or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. For America's farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity. Watch Secretary Wes Ward's message on the ag census here.

Although the deadline has passed, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through the spring. For more information, click here.

Find the latest ag census information here.
Nationwide Farmer, Rancher, and Forest Manager Prospective Customer Survey
The Nationwide Farmer, Rancher, and Forest Manager Prospective Customer Survey is now open. This survey reviews your general views and interactions with the following U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies: Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Risk Management Agency (RMA). The survey is voluntary, anonymous, and takes around ten minutes to complete. Find the survey and more information here.
SUSTA Updates
The Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) is a non-profit organization that facilitates trade between small to medium-sized southern U.S. companies and overseas importers. Since 1973, SUSTA has worked with the Departments of Agriculture to increase the export of southern U.S. food and agricultural products and enhance the economic well-being of the region.
Export Readiness Training
SUSTA's Export Readiness Training provides agribusinesses the tools to create a successful international marketing strategy. During training, participants will assess their capacity for exporting, identify key foreign markets and learn practical export fundamentals so they can confidently export their products. Originally scheduled for March, this training was pushed back to May.

There is a $150 participation fee which includes the following modules to be conducted via Zoom (8:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. CST):

  • May 10: Developing Export Readiness Skills
  • May 17: Expert Tools of the Trade
  • May 24: Getting Products to Global Customers
Webinar: Tools for Exporting Success
SUSTA will host a webinar titled Tools for Exporting Success on March 29th from 9 to 10:30 a.m. CST. This webinar provides new-to-export companies a high-level overview of the steps required to successfully export products abroad. Participating companies will learn practical export fundamentals and have a better understanding of the general export process. This webinar is free of charge for SUSTA participants. Register for the webinar 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 Peanut Month
  • Arkansas harvested 32,000 acres and produced 166.4 million pounds of peanuts in 12 Arkansas counties in 2022.
  • Arkansas’s 2022 yield led the nation with a 5,200-pound yield per acre, followed by Virginia and Mississippi with 4,500 pounds, North Carolina’s 4,400, and Georgia’s 4,250 pounds per acre.
  • The value of Arkansas’s peanut crop is more than $42 million, making it the sixth largest cash crop in the state, and a significant contributor to our ag industry.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2014 formally recognized Arkansas as a primary peanut-producing state, granting Arkansas peanut producers a seat on the National Peanut Board.
  • Arkansas has a peanut shelling facility in Jonesboro and buying points at Portia, Pocahontas, Marianna, and Jonesboro.
  • Arkansas is home to a Skippy peanut butter facility, located in Little Rock.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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