Arkansas Department of Agriculture News

Arkansas Peanut Month

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders proclaimed March as Arkansas Peanut Month! 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 the industry.

Learn more about the peanut sector in Arkansas below:

  • In 2023, Arkansas harvested 34,000 acres and produced 197 million pounds of peanuts in 12 counties.
  • Arkansas's 2023 yield led the nation with a 5,800-pound yield per acre.
  • Arkansas has been formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a primary peanut-producing state since 2014. This recognition grants 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 in Little Rock and a Planters products facility in Fort Smith.
  • Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free, a protein powerhouse, an excellent source of niacin and magnesium, and contain vitamin E, biotin, and copper.
Read Proclamation

Arkansas Department of Agriculture Hosts “Free Tree Fridays” in Recognition of Arbor Day

In recognition of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders proclaiming March 18 as Arkansas 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 22 through April 26.

“Spring is an excellent time of year to plant trees,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Forestry Division. “Adding trees to your yard or to a community forest provides Arkansans with many benefits, including recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, and beautiful landscapes.”

Species will vary by location and the giveaway will be limited to five seedlings per person on a first come, first served basis. The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council, a new partner in the annual Free Tree Fridays campaign, purchased and donated six species of hardwood seedlings native to Arkansas including red mulberry, bald cypress, sycamore, Shumard oak, cherrybark oak, and river birch.

Read the Full Release
Free Tree Friday Locations

Arkansas Department of Agriculture to Host Public Meetings for Arkansas Water Plan Update

In compliance with Executive Order 23-27 signed by Governor Sanders, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is updating the Arkansas Water Plan and developing the state’s first-ever statewide flood plan. As part of the comprehensive analysis required by Governor Sanders’ executive order, the Department will hold public meetings to engage stakeholders in identifying current water issues, needs, and best practicable solutions.

The first meeting will be held on March 26, 2024, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Office, 2301 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204. The second meeting will be held on March 27, 2024, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences, 1371 W. Altheimer Drive, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72704. Additional public meetings will be held over the course of the planning process.

Representatives from all water use sectors, including interested water planning groups, state and federal agencies, legislators, and local entities, are encouraged to participate in the meetings. Questions about the meetings may be directed to Ryan Benefield at [email protected] or at 501-682-3962.

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Arkansas Department of Agriculture Announces Grant Opportunity for Farmers Markets

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is pleased to partner with the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas for the ninth annual Arkansas Farmers Market Promotion Program. This program, which is administered by the Department and funded by the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas, helps build awareness for farmers markets and their vendors. This program provides funding assistance for the state’s farmers markets to serve their communities as consumer interest in locally grown and made products continues to increase.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program may fund the following promotional items to build community and regional awareness for a specific farmers market: signage listing names, seasons, times of operation, and location details; local traditional advertising; and social media campaigns. In 2023, the Department provided over $9,000 in grants to 25 Arkansas farmers markets through the partnership with the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Applications are open until funds are no longer available.

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Sanders Announces More Than $42 Million for Arkansas Water Projects

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced more than $42 million in financial assistance for six water and wastewater projects serving more than 22,000 Arkansans. The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission approved this funding on February 28, 2024.

“Every Arkansan deserves access to safe and consistent running water. My administration has prioritized improvements to Arkansas’ water infrastructure and today, I’m proud to announce $42 million in much-needed assistance for communities that face critical issues with their existing water facilities,” said Governor Sanders.

“The Department of Agriculture continues to work with communities across the state to address deficiencies in water and wastewater systems. The action regarding Helena-West Helena continues to demonstrate the Governor’s ongoing effort to address a difficult situation and we are proud to partner with her,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.

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Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders Announces Review of Arkansas Levees

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Commissioner of State Lands to conduct a statewide levee inventory. As part of the Governor’s larger review of Arkansas’ State Water Plan, this project will result in the state’s first-ever full inventory of levees and will allow the state to better prepare for flooding events and reduce flood risk to people, businesses, and critical infrastructure.

“Arkansas’ levees provide critical protection to communities across our state. But we can’t make improvements and repairs to our levee system if we don’t have a comprehensive inventory of our existing facilities. I’m proud to partner with Commissioner Land to launch this review and improve protection for Arkansans in flood-prone areas,” said Governor Sanders.

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Cotton Growers to Receive Rebate from Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation

The Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (ABWEF) board of directors voted Wednesday, February 7 to authorize the distribution of a $1 per acre cash rebate to growers for reported 2023 cotton acres registered with the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program. A total payout of $485,730 will be returned to Arkansas cotton growers. 

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Resource Highlight: FireSMART App

The FireSMART app, launched in 2022 by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, offers row crop producers and forest landowners a simple, easy way to check conditions and report prescribed burns. With FireSMART, producers can select the area they plan to burn on a map and the application will generate real-time weather data, letting producers know if current conditions align with the state’s Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines.

View FireSMART

Resource Highlight: New Conservation Resource Dashboard

At the most recent Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) meeting, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division (NRD) presented a new dashboard that provides information on financial assistance programs and identifies resource concerns in a single location. The objective of this new dashboard is to provide a one-stop shop for conservation districts and other stakeholders to identify available NRD programs that align with county level resource concerns or local watersheds during locally led workgroup meetings.

View Dashboard

2024 Arkansas Century Farm Applications Due May 31

The applications for the 2024 Arkansas Century Farm Program are open until May 31! Has your family owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years? If so, apply to join the 604 farm families who have been inducted into the Arkansas Century Farm Program.

Learn More and Apply

American Farmland Trust Launches U.S. Farmed Certification

The American Farmland Trust launched a new certification. The U.S. Farmed Certified seal was designed to differentiate products made with at least 95 percent of ingredients grown in the United States. By choosing U.S. Farmed Certified products, consumers support American farmers and invest in the future of domestic production, ensuring a secure and sustainable food supply for all.

Learn More

Photo Features

On March 15, the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council hosted a ReLeaf Tree Drive in North Little Rock. At the event, Central Arkansas residents selected free trees to revitalize the lost urban forestry canopy from the March 31 tornado last year.

Paul Shell with the Department's Plant Industries Division received the Outstanding Service Award from the Arkansas Green Industry Association on March 13.

On March 6-14, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders traveled to South Korea and Japan for a trade mission. The trade mission started in Seoul, South Korea where Governor Sanders met with U.S. troops deployed overseas, including Secretary Wes Ward.

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board met at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture in Little Rock on March 7 and 8. The board heard reports from the University of Arkansas, industry stakeholders, and research and promotion proposals for upcoming projects. The board approved $3.8M in funding for projects for 2024-2025.

The Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examining Committee met on March 5 at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Members heard a presentation from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards and discussed veterinarian and corporate practice applications.

The Arkansas State Plant Board met on March 5 at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The Board heard updates from the Department’s Plant Industries Division, the Boll Weevil Sub-Committee, and a presentation from the National Agriculture Law Center.

Governor Sanders proclaimed March 4-8 as Arkansas Flood Insurance Awareness Week! The Natural Resources Division sponsored a four-day training course in Little Rock with support from the Arkansas Floodplain Management Association and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The training provided local officials with the knowledge and skills to manage development within flood-prone areas.

Read Proclamation

This month, members of the Livestock and Poultry Division represented the Department at the 2024 Arkansas Cattlemen's Association Area Spring Conferences.

Six Arkansans were honored at the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame on March 1. The 2024 inductees were: Dr. George Berger Jr., Fred Bourland, Mark Cochran, Melvin Daniel, Dr. Charles Looney, and Gary Sitzer.

Photo credit: Arkansas Farm Bureau

The Department is a sponsor of Arkansas Cattlemen’s Leadership Course (ACLC) and hosted this year's cohort on February 29. The group discussed how new technology, like RFID tags, can simplify the record-keeping process and better equip producers for disease outbreak response.

New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities

Updates from the National Agricultural Law Center

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Recent Blog Posts:

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Accepting Applications for 2024 Ag Discovery Program

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is accepting applications for the 2024 Ag Discovery Program. The two-week program allows participants ages 14-17 to live on the UAPB campus and learn about agricultural science, environmental biology, industrial health and safety, plant and soil science, animal science, aquaculture and fisheries, and human sciences from university professors, practicing veterinarians, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) professionals. Applications will be accepted until April 5.

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2024 Forest Landowner Forum: Forests and Wildlife– Improving Wildlife Habitat on your Property

Join the Arkansas Forestry Association and various forestry and wildlife professionals to learn about managing timberlands to benefit bobwhite quail and whitetail deer. This forum will be held April 25 from 10:00 a.m.- 3 p.m. at DeGray Lake Resort State Park and costs $10 per person. Online registration is available until April 11, 2024.

Register Here

Arkansas Ag in the Classroom Accepting Nominations for Outstanding Teacher of the Year

Do you know of a teacher doing a great job with Ag in the Classroom? Nominations are open for Arkansas Ag in the Classroom's Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Self-nominations, as well as nominations from school faculty, community leaders, or parents of students, are invited. Applications must be submitted by certified mail and postmarked no later than April 1, 2024, to:


Donette Spann

Director, Ag in the Classroom

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

P.O. Box 31

Little Rock, AR 72203-0031

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USDA Updates

Farm Service Agency Southeast Arkansas Outreach Meetings

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is hosting four virtual meetings from March through June. See more information for each meeting below:

Thursday, March 28th, 10:00 – 11:00

FSA Farm Loans and Pheasants Forever Program Overview

Special speaker Stephanie Clingenpeel will share information about Pheasants Forever programs information on the farm loan programs. Click HERE to join the virtual meeting.

Thursday, April 25th, 10:00 – 11:00

FSA Program Updates and Beginning Farmer Information

Special speaker Dr. Henry English, Head of Small Farm Programs for SAFHS at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and Renee Kelley FSA County Executive Director, St. Francis County. Click HERE to join the virtual meeting.

Thursday, May 23rd, 10:00 – 11:00

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Overview

Special speaker Brian Hollis- NRCS Resource Conservationist. Click HERE to join the virtual meeting.

Thursday, June 27th, 10:00 – 11:00

FSA County Committee (COC) Election Overview and U of A Extension Updates

Special speaker Scott Hayes, Ag and Natural Resources Agent for Drew County. Zachary Beaver will share information about FSA County Committees. Click HERE to join the virtual meeting.

Learn More

USDA Announces $145M from Investing in America Agenda to Help Landowners Access Climate Markets

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation is being awarded nearly $1.5 million to partner with University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) to provide landowners in Arkansas with education and technical assistance to address heirs’ property issues and forestry-focused technical assistance. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities will also receive more than $1.7 million to help UAPB expand this assistance to landowners into new counties while supporting better tracking of efforts to assist families with retaining land and accessing climate markets.

Read More 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 Ag Week

  • Agriculture is Arkansas's largest industry, contributing more than $20.9 billion annually to our state's economy and providing one of every seven jobs in the state.
  • Arkansas's 41,900 farms and ranches operate on 14 million acres, with agricultural operations occurring in all 75 counties within the state.
  • Arkansas ranks in the top ten nationally in the production of rice, broilers, turkeys, cotton, cottonseed, catfish, peanuts, eggs, and soybeans.
  • Arkansas is home to 12 billion trees on nearly 19 million acres of forestland.
  • Arkansas's economy is the most forestry-dependent of all the southern states, with forest industries contributing over $6.1 billion to the state's economy.
  • Arkansas rice accounts for approximately 49% of all U.S. rice production.
Arkansas Ag Week Proclamation
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The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.