17,800 Trees Given Away During Arkansas Department of Agriculture “Free Tree Friday" Campaign
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s second annual “Free Tree Fridays” campaign resulted in the distribution of 17,800 trees during 36 events held across the state each Friday from March 18 through April 29. The events were hosted by the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division in honor of National Arbor Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Friday of April. 
The Arbor Day act of planting a tree gives hope that the tree will grow to provide clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and natural beauty. The idea for the annual Free Tree Fridays campaign started in 2021 when Grant County Ranger Troy Wood requested an Arbor Day celebration giveaway in his county.
“We’re always getting calls from the public asking for trees or information about where to buy trees, so I thought a giveaway would be a great way to get trees to them and help them learn more about the work of the Forestry Division,” Wood said. “This way we can talk to landowners about our programs, and what better time to give away trees than Arbor Day?”
More than 4,400 people attended the Free Tree Fridays events this year. The success of the events prompted 14 other tree giveaway events outside of the Department’s campaign where an additional 4,500 seedlings were distributed. 
“One of our goals in Urban and Community Forestry is to give all Arkansans the opportunity to benefit from trees. Several attendees mentioned how grateful they were for the opportunity to access trees they couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator.
Photos from this year’s events can be found here.

Find more information about community development opportunities regarding trees here, or contact Kristine Kimbro at [email protected].
Arkansas Grown Grant Pilot Program Will Benefit Farmers in Northwest Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Walton Family Foundation have partnered to offer the Arkansas Grown Grant pilot program for farmers residing and farming in Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties in Northwest Arkansas. This pilot program offers grant funding to eligible farmers who are committed to increasing capacity for wholesale fruit and vegetable production, resulting in more local food.
Grants up to a maximum of $15,000 will be awarded for eligible expenses to at least 30 farmers in the four-county pilot program area. Free assistance in completing the application is offered through the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center in Fayetteville (ASBTDC). The application and link to ASBTDC is available here.
“The Walton Family Foundation’s generosity is well known throughout Arkansas and the nation,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is honored to assist in the administration of this grant program and looks forward to seeing the positive impacts it will have on farmers, consumers, and local food production in Northwest Arkansas.”
Funds will be awarded to approved applicants on an equitable basis until funds are no longer available. A committee will review applications based on the following criteria: (1) dedication to growing local food for sale to wholesale and commercial buyers; (2) demonstrated interest in increasing capacity to sell to wholesale buyers and distributors; (3) the ability to provide performance metrics on reports; (4) demonstrated need; and (5) sustainability.
For more information about the pilot program, contact Karen Reynolds, [email protected], or call her at (501) 529-1630.
Governor Hutchinson Announces Appointments to Agriculture Boards and Commissions

On April 29, Governor Hutchinson made appointments to several boards and commissions within the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The appointments are as follows:

Arkansas Forestry Commission:
  • David Cawein, Bella Vista. Term Expires January 14, 2027.

Arkansas Agriculture Board:
  • Seth Summerside, Little Rock. Term expires August 15, 2024.
  • Charles Metz, London. Term expires August 15, 2025.
  • Jammy Turner, Gillett. Term expires August 15, 2025.

Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission:
  • James Mardis, Rogers. Term expires February 1, 2026.

Commission on Waterwell Construction:
  • David Washington, Calico Rock. Term expires January 14, 2023.
  • Michael McDermott, Weiner. Term expires January 14, 2025.
  • Ernie Pender, Texarkana. Term expires January 14, 2026.
  • David Gilbert, Mena. Term expires January 14, 2024.
  • Stephen Hunt, Maumelle. Term expires January 14, 2025.

Find the full list of appointments here.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Releases a Pocket Guide to Arkansas Forest Health

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the release of the Pocket Guide to Arkansas Forest Health, a guide to insects, diseases, and other tree-injuring factors in the Natural State. The handbook is designed to serve as an identification tool and includes example images of injury, potential causes, and management strategies.  
The guidebook was co-written by Chandler Barton, Forest Health Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, with assistance from Southern Regional Extension Forestry and Clemson Cooperative Extension.

“The Pocket Guide to Arkansas Forest Health is an excellent source of information for landowners, forestry consultants, forest enthusiasts, and more,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We appreciate the co-authors for their contributions to this helpful and practical resource.”
The guidebook describes many of the common causes for tree injury in Arkansas, what resulting damage may look like, and what management tools are available. Although some management recommendations are offered in the guide, Barton recommends contacting a specialist to determine how to mitigate an issue.
Barton also said, “This guide can be used to enjoy observing trees and the organisms that interact with them. I hope readers will cultivate an appreciation of living things and be good stewards for our environment.” 
The Pocket Guides are available free of charge at all Forestry Division District Offices, as well as the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Little Rock Headquarters. Find your local District Office here.
EPA Issues Waiver Authorizing the Sale of E15 Fuel

On April 29, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a waiver of regulations prohibiting the sale and use of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer months. These regulations would otherwise apply to retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers beginning on June 1, 2022, and to all other persons beginning May 1. 

Specifically, the regulations require parties upstream of retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers to turn over their storage tanks to low volatility summer gasoline and stop selling higher volatility winter gasoline by May 1 so that retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers­ can meet the applicable low volatility gasoline standards by June 1.

Fuel bulk terminals may continue to sell E15 ethanol fuel in Arkansas after May 1 until the waiver expires. The waiver is set to expire on May 20, 2022, but the EPA has stated that it intends to extend the waiver until the present fuel supply circumstances abate. While fuel retail locations are typically prohibited from selling E15 ethanol fuel after June 1, such locations may continue selling E15 ethanol fuel if a waiver is in effect beyond that date. Retailers and customers can contact the Department for information.

Read more here.
Submit Your Questions for Growing Hope: Combating Stress in Agriculture
Working the land can leave you with a sense of fulfillment, but it can also be a major cause of mental, physical, and even financial stress.

Arkansas PBS will air "Growing Hope" on Thursday, May 26. Tune in to find out how Arkansas farmers and ranchers are coping with stress and what can be done to help them.

Share your questions about stress in the agricultural industry by messaging Arkansas PBS on Facebook, posting on Twitter with #GrowingHopeAR, emailing [email protected], or leaving a voicemail at 1-501-682-0318. Learn more about "Growing Hope" here.

"Growing Hope: Combating Stress in Agriculture" is funded through a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Grant provided by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
Arkansas Century Farm Highlight: Gammon Farm
The Gammon family has been farming since their ancestors were brought to America from Africa as slaves in the 1700s. After slavery was abolished, the Gammon family settled in eastern Arkansas in the 1890s. Spencer Gammon was a tenant farmer in Marion, and in 1901 he bought bottom land where Gammon Road is located today.

Generations of Gammons have weathered drought, floods, boll weevil infestations, the Great Depression, and numerous legal challenges. John Gammon Jr. (pictured) served as an analyst in the U.S Department of Agriculture and organized the Negro Division of the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the first Negro Poultry Cooperative in Arkansas. Today, the family farms over 400 acres of soybeans, wheat, and vegetables. Read more about the history of the Gammon family and their contributions to agriculture and minority farmers here.

Arkansas is home to more than 42,200 farms, of which 96 percent are family owned and operated. Since the program began in 2012, 526 farms have been certified. Find a list of previously inducted Arkansas Century Farm families here.

If your family has owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years, you may qualify for recognition as an Arkansas Century Farm. Applications for 2022 inductees are due May 31 and can be found here.
2022 County Farm Families of the Year Announced
The 75th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program has named the 2022 County Farm Families of the Year. The families will be visited by a set of judges to determine eight District Farm Families of the Year, which will be announced June 14. The state Farm Family of the Year will be announced in December at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon. Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognize outstanding farm families throughout the state.

Sponsors of the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.

Find the county-by-county list of winning families 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 arcareers.arkansas.gov or check out our Facebook pages for open positions in Shared Services, Forestry, Livestock and Poultry, Plant Industries, and Natural Resources!
2022 Arkansas Grown
In the early 1970s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a trade association dedicated to supporting exporters from Arkansas and the entire South. The Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) has a membership made up of Departments of Agriculture in 14 states and Puerto Rico. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is an active member and Secretary Wes Ward sits on the board of SUSTA.

Read more about SUSTA and what the organization is doing for Arkansas agriculture 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
Arkansas Beef and Egg Month
During a ceremony at the State Capitol, Governor Hutchinson joined agriculture leaders and industry partners in declaring May 2022 as Arkansas Beef Month and Arkansas Egg Month. In attendance were Secretary Wes Ward and representatives from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Cattlemen's Association, Arkansas Beef Council, The Poultry Federation, Cal-Maine Foods, and other industry representatives.
Representatives from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture attended the 2022 Green Careers Expo in Springdale, educating middle school children in North West Arkansas on career opportunities with the Department.

Pictured, from left, are Sarah Cato, Marketing; Logan Shephard, Forestry Division; Patrick Sinyard, Forestry Division; Regina Gregory, Forestry Division; and Nicole Blanks, Natural Resources Division.
Rural Fire Protection in Action
The Forestry Division's Rural Fire Protection Program recently gave a tractor converted into a tanker to the County Line Fire Department in Bradley County, pictured on the left, and a 1987 Navistar pumper truck to the Fifty-Six Fire Department in Stone County, pictured on the right.
The Natural Resources Division’s Water Quality Section staff attended the Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership’s Barrier and Culvert Assessment training at Mount Magazine May 2 - 4.
Staff learned how to assess road barriers and culverts as they relate to fish and organism passage in streams.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
New Resources from the National Agricultural Law Center

Mid-South Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference

The Ninth Annual Mid-South Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference will be held on June 10, 2022, in Memphis, TN with an online option available. Those who register by May 22 are eligible for the online “Bonus Continuing Legal Education (CLE)” sessions which will take place on May 24. The "Bonus CLE" program has been approved by the bars of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee for 2 hours of CLE credit. Missouri has approved this portion of the program for 2.4 hours of CLE credit. 

The main conference in June has been approved for 6 total hours of CLE in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee including one hour of ethics. It has been approved for 7.2 total hours of CLE in Missouri, including 1.2 hours of ethics. Find more conference details here.

Upcoming Webinars:

Recent Blog Posts:

2021 Fire Year in Review
The Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher has released the 2021 Fire Year in Review video. The video revisits significant events and statistics from 2021 in order to prepare for wildfires in 2022 and beyond.

The full 2021 Fire Year in Review video can be found here.
Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program
Does your county have problems with unpaved roads that are damaged after heavy rain events? The Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program may be able to help. This program aims to create a better unpaved county road system by reducing erosion and negative environmental impacts on the state’s priority water resources.
Read more about the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program on page 32 of the winter edition of the Association of Arkansas Counties publication, “County Lines" here.

On May 12, the Arkansas Unpaved Roads program will be holding a training program on drainage control and mitigation of erosion for unpaved roads. Topics will include:

  • Gravel road construction
  • Innovative ways to mitigate erosion
  • Grade breaks & broad-based dips
  • Ditches & culverts
  • Stream crossings
  • Field exercises

County Judges, road foremen, crew leaders, and crew members are invited to attend at no cost.
Register here.
Scholarships from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) are partnering to provide funding for incoming freshman pursuing a forestry degree at UAM’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

In addition, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to provide funding to help deserving students further their education and prepare for potential careers in agriculture, our state’s largest industry. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture Scholarship for Agriculture Majors is available to students majoring in agriculture or an agriculture-related field at certain Arkansas universities.

Find details on both scholarships here.
Cogongrass Tracking
Cogongrass is a perennial grass native to Southeast Asia. The grass is a highly invasive species in the United States and other parts of the world outside of its native range. In this country, it is found mainly in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states. The grass can spread quickly from underground rhizomes and, to a lesser extent, from wind blown seeds. This can include movement of soil contaminated with rhizomes, spread from dirt moving equipment, and seeds stuck on mowers and vehicles.

In order to help track cogongrass in Arkansas, the public is being asked to upload any suspected cogongrass in the state to the app iNaturalist. Read more about cogongrass in Arkansas here.
USDA Updates
USDA Farm Service Agency 2022 Virtual Outreach Meetings

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA) has finalized their virtual outreach meetings for 2022. These virtual trainings serve as a way for USDA-FSA to get vital program information, such as deadlines, eligibility requirements, and more into the hands of producers.

Thursday, May 26, 10:00 - 11:00 A.M. – Youth Loan Program
Special Speaker – Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, will provide an update from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Virtual meeting here. For audio only call 202-650-0123 and enter code: 307 597 909#.

Thursday, June 23, 10:00 - 11:00 A.M. – COC Election Overview
Special Speaker - Doris Washington, State Executive Director – Farm Service Agency. Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. Learn more about how you can participate. Virtual meeting here . For audio only call 202-650-0123 and enter code 783 560 535#. 

Thursday, August 25, 10:00 - 11:00 A.M. – Conservation Reserve Program
Special Speaker: Shane Booth, District Forester, Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division. Find out how these programs work to address a large number of farming and ranching related conservation issues. Virtual meeting here.  For audio only call 202-650-0123 and enter code 980 012 680#.

Thursday, September 29, 10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. – Beginning Farmer and Heir Property Education
Special Speaker: Rusty Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney, U of A Division of Agriculture. Learn how to obtain a farm number and Heir Property documentation needed. Virtual meeting here. For audio only call 202-650-0123 and enter code 740 167 816#.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture's
Annual Report

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report provides information about the Department and how it served Arkansas agriculture, our state's largest industry, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Click here to view the 2021 Annual Report.
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 Egg Month
  • Arkansas ranks first in the nation for egg exports.
  • Eggs are a good source of quality protein and other nutrients including vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, and selenium.
  • Egg production consistently ranks among Arkansas's top ten agricultural commodities in cash receipts, valued at $568 million annually.
  • Arkansas produces more than 3.8 billion shell eggs annually.
  • Arkansas ranks 5th in the nation for egg production value.
  • There are seven egg processing facilities in Central and Northwest Arkansas, committed to providing premium eggs and egg products.
  • The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Livestock and Poultry Division has 15 shell egg inspectors that provide more than 14,000 man hours each year to ensure the highest egg quality standards are met throughout the state and country.
  • The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Livestock and Poultry Division annually issues more than 300 egg handling permits for the sale and distribution of eggs within the state.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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