Joint Arkansas-Texas Event to Close Out Free Tree Fridays for 2023
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division will conclude the 2023 Free Tree Fridays events on April 28 with a joint Arkansas-Texas Free Tree Friday hosted in partnership with the Texas A&M Forest Service in Texarkana. The bare root seedling giveaways have been hosted in recognition of National Arbor Day.

“We have been pleased with the success of this year’s Free Tree Friday events and are excited to conclude the events with our first joint giveaway with Texas A&M Forest Service,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Forestry Division and Texarkana native. “Adding trees to yards or to the community around Texarkana is good for Arkansans and Texans alike.”

Free Tree Fridays will continue in various locations across the state through April 28, 2023. Species will vary by location with at least two of the following species offered at each giveaway: American elm, river birch, bald cypress, persimmon, and/or red mulberry. Offerings are limited to three seedlings per person on a first come, first served basis. Following is a listing of locations and times currently scheduled:

April 21
  • Sheridan – The Mad Butcher, 815 Rock Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Stuttgart – Stuttgart Chamber Pavilion, 507 South Main Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Magnolia – Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Story Arena, 1015 Highway 82 Bypass West: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

April 28
  • Casa – Casa Community Center, 114 South Maple Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Jonesboro – Earle Bell Community Center, 1212 South Church Street: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Monticello – University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, 110 University Court: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • DeQueen – Bailey Discount Building Supply, 880 East Collin Raye Drive: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Texarkana – CVS, 3908 North State Line Avenue, Arkansas; Walgreens, 4415 North State Line Avenue, Texas: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

Visit here for more information and a full schedule.
FireSMART App Offers An Easy Way to Check Conditions/Report Prescribed Burns
In October 2022, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment announced the launch of the Arkansas FireSMART mobile application. This app offers row crop producers and forest landowners a simple, easy way to check conditions and report prescribed burns.

With the app, 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. Under Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines, producers and landowners report prescribed burns to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center. The FireSMART app also streamlines this process, making the app a one-stop shop for reporting and information.

Access the FireSMART app here. Read more about prescribed fire and its benefits here. Find the Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines here.
United States Department of Agriculture Offers Disaster Assistance to Farmers in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin Impacted by Recent Storms and Tornados
Agricultural operations in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin have been significantly impacted by recent tornadoes and severe storms that caused widespread and extensive destruction across those states. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover in the wake of these disasters. Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about programs that may be available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses and damages. Read the full release from the USDA here.
Arkansas Century Farm Program Accepting Applications Until May 31
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2023 Arkansas Century Farm Program. This program recognizes Arkansas families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. Online and printable applications are available here. There is no cost to apply.

To qualify, Arkansas farms must meet the following criteria:

  • The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by December 31, 2023. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption.
  • The farm must be at least ten acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Contact Beth Moore at 501-539-4027 or with questions. Applications must be received via email or postmarked on or before May 31, 2023, to be eligible for designation as a 2023 inductee.
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
A rare combination of innovation, courage, perseverance, resilience, and old-school hard work is a Williams family legacy. Four generations of Williams have farmed in the Arkansas Delta near Helena.

Read more about the Williams family and Delta Dirt Distillery in the 2023 edition of Arkansas Grown. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state! With more than 25 features about Arkansas agriculture, there's something for everyone.
Photo Features
On April 17-18, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division spoke at the Arkansas Floodplain Management Association (AFMA) 2023 Spring Workshop in Springdale.

On April 14, Cheri Ellis, Egg and Poultry Division Manager for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Livestock and Poultry Division, participated in the Faulkner County Extension Service Chicken and Egg Class. Topics included nutrition, feeding costs, incubation, diseases, biosecurity, and selling eggs. Representatives from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and Purina also participated.
The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission met on April 14 at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Updates on animal health, field and market reports, Department programs, the emergency response to the tornados last month, and more were given by staff. At the meeting, Kenneth Riggins, Agri Inspector Supervisor, was awarded a plaque signed by Governor Sanders and Secretary Ward honoring his years of service. Kenneth has been an integral part of the Department for 44 years and we wish him well in his retirement!

The McNeil Fire Department in Columbia County received a 2009 2WD Freightliner tanker from the Rural Fire Protection Program. McNeil also received a $10,000 refurbishment grant to help fund repairs and conversions on this truck. Pictured are firefighters Carl Bismarck and Jimmy Ogle along with Fire Chief Mark Labit.
On April 10, Secretary Ward participated in a roundtable discussion on rural development at the Don Tyson Agricultural Science Center in Fayetteville. Panelists included Mike Malone, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at the University of Arkansas; Senator John Boozman; Xochitl Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture; Dr. Deacue Fields, University of Arkansas System Vice President of Agriculture; and Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited, Inc.
Photo credit: Mary Hightower, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Nick Maynard and Kyle Pomes, two recipients of the Foresters of the Future Scholarship, and Dale Pace, district forester for the Forestry Division, measuring a tree for a photo for an upcoming University of Arkansas at Monticello publication.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
Highlight Farmers and Ranchers on Social Media with #Plant23 Campaign
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to highlight the stories of farmers and ranchers on social media with #Plant23 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To participate, send photos and video to, along with your name/name of your operation, location, what you are working on, and any thoughts about this year's season.
"Plan. Produce. Profit." Workshops in Arkansas
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Law Center are facilitating a series of workshops called "Plan. Produce. Profit." Workshop participants will learn how to operate under the Arkansas Food Freedom Act for selling homemade food items to the public. Attendees will be eligible to receive a free pH meter for producing food products. Funding for these workshops is provided by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture through the United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Learn more and register here. For more information, contact Rusty Rumley at
2023 Soil Health Workshop Series: Part Two
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is hosting part two of the 2023 Soil Health Workshop Series on May 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. Attendees will participate in field demos with topics such as managing soil fertility with compost, cover crop termination, and soil pest management. Participants will also get access to free educational materials as well as a chance to win door prizes. Registration is $10 per person. Learn more about the workshop series and register here.
Forest Management Workshop - Managing White Oak Woodlands
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA) is hosting a forest management workshop designed to help forest managers better understand white oak woodlands in the Ozark region. The workshop is scheduled for April 26 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UADA Livestock and Forestry Research Station in Batesville, Arkansas. Lunch will be provided and there is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Register by calling 870-793-7432. Learn more about the workshop here.
The Wallace Center Extends Deadline for EPA Historically Underserved Farmers Subaward Program
The Wallace Center's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Historically Underserved Farmers Subaward Program is a competitive subaward program for the Mississippi River Region that aims to address the diverse needs of historically underserved farming communities, center networking and co-learning among sub awardees, and resource underserved farmers as conservation leaders. The Wallace Center has extended the due date for concept note submissions to May 15 at 11:59 p.m. CT. The deadline to submit questions via email has also been extended to May 8 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

The Wallace Center held pre-application webinars on March 22, April 5, and April 11. The information provided in the webinar slides can be found here.

Find more information here, and contact with any additional questions.

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
Census of Agriculture Responses Accepted Through the Spring
The Census of Agriculture allows producers to tell the story of agriculture in the United States and it’s not too late to respond. Since data collection began last fall, over a million ag census recipients across the country have returned their questionnaires, but many have yet to respond. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will continue to collect completed 2022 ag census forms through the spring to ensure all producers have the chance to be represented in widely used census data. Producers can respond online here or by mail. 
Webinar: Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase 2 Application
USDA Farm Production and Conservation will host a webinar on completing the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) 2 application form on May 1 at 2 p.m. ET. ERP 2 is a revenue-based program that relies on tax and financial records instead of the production history Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs usually require. Join USDA and members of the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee for a discussion on completing the ERP 2 application form and guidance on where advanced tax and accounting knowledge may be required. Register for the webinar here.
People's Garden Webinar Series
The People's Garden webinar series will begin on April 26 at 3 p.m. ET and will feature experts from USDA and beyond who will share planting tips and resources that benefit community gardens. USDA will also share on-the-ground stories of gardens making a difference by growing fresh, nutritious food for their communities. Webinars will be recorded and available for viewing here. Register for the first webinar in the series here.
FSA Southeast Arkansas Outreach Meetings
The USDA FSA Southeast Arkansas office is hosting free, virtual informational sessions to educate producers and agriculture businesses on available programs and loans and share vital information such as program deadlines and eligibility. The first session was held on Thursday, March 30. The following sessions will take place in the coming months, and are free to attend virtually.

  • FSA Program Updates and Beginning Farmer Information, May 25 from 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Speaker: Dr. Henry English, Head of Small Farm Programs at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Science
  • County Committee Election Overview, July 27 from 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Speaker: Doris Washington, State Executive Director for the FSA

Interested individuals should call their local FSA office to receive the meeting link. Contact information for your local FSA office can be found here.
USDA Accepting Applications for Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) Grants
The Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) supports the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing; local and regional food markets and enterprises; and value-added agricultural products.

LAMP is an umbrella program created in the 2018 Farm Bill. LAMP encompasses the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), Regional Food System Partnerships Program (RFSP), and Value-Added Producer Grants Program (VAPG). LAMP funding is divided between these grant programs. 

Applications for the FMPP, LFPP, and RFSP are due by May 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Visit here to apply and for additional information on LAMP grant programs.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Dedicating $75 Million to Assist Producers Transitioning to Organic Production
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is dedicating $75 million in financial and technical assistance to producers transitioning to organic production. The NRCS will help producers adopt the new organic management standard, which allows flexibility for producers to get assistance and education they need such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts. Find 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 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.

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
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: Free Tree Fridays
  • In honor of Arkansas Arbor Day and National Arbor Day, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division hosts bare-root seedling giveaways at various locations across the state.
  • The events take place from March 17th to April 28th each year.
  • Adding trees to your yard or to the community forest is beneficial to all Arkansans, and spring is an excellent time to plant trees!
  • 2023 marks the third year of the Free Tree Friday campaign in Arkansas.
  • Last year, 17,800 hardwood seedlings were distributed to 4,400 attendees at 36 events.
  • Find a Free Tree Friday location near you here.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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