Governor Sanders Issues Executive Order to Conduct a Comprehensive Analysis and Report of Arkansas's Water Needs and Update the Arkansas Water Plan
On August 21, Governor Sanders issued an executive order to review and update the Arkansas Water Plan. The current plan was developed in 2014. The purpose of the Arkansas Water Plan is to conserve and protect the state’s water resources, with a long-term goal of sustainable use to maximize the environmental and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas, and the health and well-being of its citizens. The update shall be completed in two separate phases, both including significant stakeholder engagement. Read the full executive order here.
Governor Sanders Makes Appointments to State Plant Board
On August 15, Governor Sanders announced the following appointments to the Arkansas State Plant Board:

  • Kyle Baltz, Pocahontas. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • Robert Thorne, Marion. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • David Wallace, Jr., Crawfordsville. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • Sammy Angel, Lake Village. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • Robin Ralston, Atkins. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • George Dunklin, Humphrey. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • Garrett Frost, Marianna. Term expires August 15, 2028.
  • Jon Bierbaum, Lake Village. Term expires August 15, 2028.
Arkansas Animal At Large Reporting Form Now Available 
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the launch of the Arkansas Animal at Large online reporting form. This new reporting form was developed to implement Act 594 which was enacted during the 2023 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly and will provide a state-wide method of notification of lost livestock.

Both those who have found livestock and those who have lost livestock may post notifications with photographs and descriptions of the animals, the dates they were lost or found, and the county in which they were lost or found. The posted information will serve as the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s publicly accessible record of all livestock currently in the custody of impounders within the state.

“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to offer this new resource to our state’s citizens,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “The Animal at Large reporting process gives agricultural producers a new tool to find lost livestock and ensure safe return.”

Act 594 was sponsored by Senator Ben Gilmore and Representative Howard Beaty and had broad support from the Arkansas agriculture industry. In addition to providing better avenues for enforcement and resolution of disputes, Act 594 updated, modified, and clarified 27 statutes and repealed 59 antiquated laws regarding livestock running at large. Prior to Act 594, many of the statutes regarding fencing and livestock running at large dated back to the 1800s, with some statutes not being substantially altered since the 1940s.

Access the Animal at Large reporting form here. Act 594 can be found here.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Opens
Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from producers for reimbursement under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Organic certification fees paid between the dates of October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023, are eligible. Applications for reimbursement are available here and are due by November 1, 2023.

Reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible certification costs up to $750 is available for operators who have been certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Certification costs that have already been reimbursed through the USDA Farm Service Agency or other agencies are not eligible. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture administers the USDA National Organic Certification Cost Share Program through funding provided by the USDA.

“Anything we can do to help offset costs for Arkansas producers is a win for agriculture, which is our state’s largest industry,” says Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the USDA on this program that provides important cost-share assistance to an expanding sector of Arkansas’s agricultural industry.”

According to the latest data available from the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service, certified organic production in Arkansas has grown significantly since 2012. From 2012 to 2021, the number of farms producing certified organic commodities increased from 32 farms to 82. Sales of certified organically produced commodities increased from $789,000 in 2012 to over $110 million in 2021, an increase of over 13,900 percent.

For questions about the application or the reimbursement process, contact Karen Reynolds at 501-529- 1630 or
Applications for Wildland Fire Suppression Kits Accepted Through October 20
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is now accepting applications for wildland fire suppression kits through October 20, 2023. The application can be found here.

The Forestry Division received $293,154 through a United States Forest Service grant to provide 85 kits this year to rural volunteer fire departments across the state. Since 2014, more than 670 wildland fire suppression kits have been distributed.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to Forestry Division crews in wildfire response and suppression, but they are often in need of specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. The necessary equipment and gear in the kits include lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls, wildland gloves, rakes, backpack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Rural volunteer fire departments are encouraged to apply online, but paper applications are available upon request. Applications are scored according to specific criteria to include the population of the fire district, the number of square miles covered, the average number of wildfires a department responds to annually, and other factors.

The selected departments will be notified in November and kits will be delivered in the spring of 2024 or as soon as supplies are received.

Fire departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at (501) 679-3183 or kathryn.mahan@ with questions. More information about the program can be found here.
Scholarship Opportunities Available for Students Studying Agriculture or Veterinary Medicine
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for two scholarship programs for students enrolled in or entering an undergraduate or post-graduate degree program related to agriculture or a post-graduate degree program related to veterinary medicine. Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2023, and can be found here.

More information about the scholarship programs can be found here. Please contact Amy Lyman at with questions regarding the scholarship programs.
Feral Hog Eradication Task Force: July 2023 Update
The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in July 2023 and removed 1,029 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of 112 feral hogs. Learn more about the Task Force and its efforts here.
United States Forest Service: Collars Make a Comeback
Colorful collared lizards are making a comeback in the glades of Arkansas after many years of habitat restoration on the Ozark National Forest. They can once again be spotted running across rocky outcrops on their hind legs. Re-population of this keystone species is affecting the ecosystem in colorful ways. It's a great reason to grab your camera and hike through the glades. Read the full story from the United States Forest Service here.
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
Whether they're overtaking a garden, decimating crops, or suffocating bodies of water, invasive species can have a detrimental impact to local ecosystems and agriculture operations. Because these organisms are non-native, they have no natural predators or diseases, making it easy for them to spread rapidly and completely unchecked.

Read more about preventing and managing invasive species 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
The third public meeting for the Illinois River Watershed Management Plan was held on August 10 in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The meeting provided an overview of the watershed management planning process. Stakeholders discussed water quality issues, conservation practices, the current state of the watershed, and the next steps in development of the management plan.
The Gum Springs Fire Department in Clark County received a 1995 E-One Pumper from the Forestry Division’s Rural Fire Protection office. Pictured are Assistant Fire Chief Roy Hill, Firefighter Haley Campbell, and Fire Chief Austin Thompson.
Todd Wilson, County Ranger in Independence County, recieved his 20-year service award from Jim Jolley, District Forester.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
New Resources from the National Agricultural Law Center

Introducing The Feed:
The body of laws, policies, and regulations affecting agriculture is vast and fast-changing, but the National Agricultural Law Center has introduced The Feed, a biweekly newsletter aimed at keeping industry professionals up to date.

Content is written by research attorneys but is designed for non attorneys as well. Find recent issues of The Feed here.

Upcoming Webinars:
Recent Blog Posts:
Wastewater System Partnership Models Webinar

The Environmental Finance Center Network is hosting a free Wastewater System Partnership Models webinar from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, August 28. Various regionalization models and approaches to collaboration will be discussed. Interested individuals can register here.
Third Annual Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Joint Regional Conference
Prairie View A&M University will host the Third Annual Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SLFR) Joint Conference in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on August 29-30. The free virtual conference supports the SLFR mission, which focuses on assisting African American forest landowners with addressing heir property issues and forest management planning to retain land and build wealth. This conference will host prominent speakers, including local, state, and federal officials. Interested individuals can register here and contact Angela Moore at or Kandi Williams at
U.S. Cotton Growers Can Now Apply for the Climate Smart Cotton Program
Cotton growers can apply now through September 1, 2023, for the Climate Smart Cotton Program, a five-year initiative led by the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. The program aims to measure and improve the carbon footprint of the U.S. cotton industry while building on the four pillars of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices. Participating growers will receive technical and financial support as well as other benefits that can enhance their operations, profitability, and environmental stewardship.

Applications will be approved on a first-come first-served basis. To be eligible growers must first complete enrollment in the Trust Protocol by September 1, 2023, and upload their 2023 bales by March 1, 2024. Learn more and apply here.
USA Rice Leadership Program
The Rice Leadership Development Program is funded by grants from John Deere Company, RiceTec, and American Commodity Company to The Rice Foundation. The USA Rice Federation develops and manages the program on behalf of The Rice Foundation.

The Rice Leadership Development Program gives future leaders a comprehensive understanding of the rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills. The class attends four one-week sessions over a two-year period and workshops designed to strengthen leadership skills.

Applications and recommendations will be accepted until September 8, 2023. Visit here for more information and to apply.
Buffalo National River Stilt Grass Removal Project
Buffalo National River Partners is hosting a stilt grass removal project on Saturday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lost Valley Trail in Boxley Valley, Arkansas. Buffalo National River Partners is seeking volunteers to pull and bag stilt grass, an invasive species of grass that smothers native wildflowers. At arrival, those participating will fill out the required national park service volunteer paperwork, and then listen to a short explanation of the project and the process before pulling. Learn more and sign up for the project here.
Veggie to Value: A Food Entrepreneur Bootcamp
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a free workshop on September 12 focused on growing and developing home food businesses in Arkansas. The workshop will provide information on home-based food processing, value-added foods, the Arkansas Food Freedom Act, and more. The workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Service State Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. Registration is free, but required to attend. Learn more and register here.
Produce Safety Grower Training
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is hosting an in-person produce safety grower training on October 26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Registration is $25 per person for Arkansas residents and $100 per person for out-of-state residents. There are limited seats available and participants must register by October 23. Learn more and register here.
Arkansas Farm Bureau State Convention Farmers Market
The Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made programs are excited to sponsor the first-ever farmers market at the Arkansas Farm Bureau Convention Trade Show on November 29-30. This is a great opportunity for Arkansas farmers, ranchers, producers, and makers to showcase their local products during the holiday shopping season. Booth space is limited, but free to local vendors. Learn more and apply 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
USDA to Measure Crop Production Throughout the Growing Season
The Monthly Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey U.S. farmers beginning July 29, 2023, regarding acreage and yields of the major row crops throughout the growing season.

The Agricultural Yield Survey captures changes in yield that occur due to weather, pests, disease, and other factors. NASS encourages producers to respond via the Internet but also welcomes mail or fax responses and offers the opportunity for a telephone interview to those producers who did not respond by the deadline. Additional information can be found here.
USDA To Provide Additional Financial Assistance Qualifying Guaranteed Farm Loan Borrowers Facing Financial Risk
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will begin providing additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying guaranteed Farm Loan Programs (FLP) borrowers who are facing financial risk. The announcement is part of the $3.1 billion to help certain distressed farm loan borrowers that was provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act.

This assistance is only available for FLP guaranteed loan borrowers who did not or will not receive an initial payment on the same FLP guaranteed loan under Inflation Reduction Act assistance announced in October 2022. Additional information can be found here.
Community Wildfire Defense Grants
The United States Forest Service is accepting applications for the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. The program is designed to assist at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies, and Alaska Native Corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. Applications will be accepted until October 31, 2023. Learn more about the grant and eligibility requirements 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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For the latest in Arkansas agriculture, be sure to follow us on social media! Links to our social media pages can be found here.
Ag Facts: National Farmers Market Week
  • August 6-12, 2023, was celebrated as National Farmers Market Week to recognize the growth and impact of farmers markets and their vital role in America's food supply chain.
  • The USDA Regional Food Business Centers, among other goals, are taking the current growth and vitality of farmers markets and their vendors even further by providing technical assistance, investments, and coordination.
  • The Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program is building upon the Regional Centers goals by using direct investment to expand capacity and infrastructure for the middle of the food supply chain.
  • According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), from 1994 to 2019, the number of farmers markets rose from 1,755 to 8,771 in 2019, averaging growth of nearly 7 percent per year.
  • In Arkansas, more than 112 known farmers markets are important outlets for agricultural producers, connecting them to consumers who are increasingly interested in investing in locally sourced products.
  • Find local farmers markets in your area here.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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