Arkansas Department of Agriculture Names Dr. John G. Nilz as New State Veterinarian
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the promotion of Dr. John G. Nilz as the new state veterinarian, effective Monday, December 13.
“Dr. Nilz brings a wealth of experience from a wide variety of professional capacities that serves Arkansas’s animal agriculture sector well,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “He has proven to be a valuable part of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s team and we look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”
Nilz has served as the field veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture (Department) since July 2020. Nilz, a native of Clark County, Arkansas, earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and entered the veterinary profession as a large animal practitioner serving the private, corporate, and regulatory sectors. Nilz also has experience in small animal medicine and surgery, emergency response and management, and teaching.
Nilz said, “It is an honor to be selected to serve as the state veterinarian for the Department. I am committed to applying my time and talents to all facets of Arkansas’s animal industries.”
The role of the state veterinarian is to assist the Department’s Livestock and Poultry Division in fulfilling its mission to safeguard human and animal health, assure food safety and quality, and promote Arkansas’s livestock and poultry industries for the benefit of the state’s citizens. As state veterinarian, Nilz will work closely with the livestock and poultry industries, licensed veterinarians, and the public regarding animal health issues and will serve as co-chair of the Arkansas One Health Committee whose purpose is to promote cohesion between agencies responsible for human, wildlife, and domestic-animal health.
Four Arkansas Counties Receive Water and Wastewater Project Funding
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved $47,143,614 for water and wastewater projects serving more than 41,999 people in four Arkansas counties on December 15, 2021. The projects are as follows:
Marble Falls Sewer Improvement District in Newton County received a $609,614 loan and a $1,000,000 grant from the Water Sewer Solid Waste Fund Program to make sewer improvements and rehabilitate the District’s wastewater system and treatment plant. Their current customer base for this project is 24.
The City of North Little Rock Wastewater in Pulaski County received a $45,000,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund Program for multiple interceptor rehabilitation projects across the system and the Maumelle to White Oak Diversion project. Their current customer base for this project is 40,546.
The City of Ratcliff in Logan County received a $309,000 loan from the Water Development Fund to replace outdated water meters with 643 digital, cellular-read meters, allowing Ratcliff to collect water usage data more efficiently and accurately. Their current customer base for this project is 643.
The City of Perla in Hot Springs County received a $225,000 grant through its receiver, Central Arkansas Water, from the Water Sewer and Solid Waste Fund Program for critical repairs and a study to determine cost for improvements to the Perla water and wastewater systems. The current customer base for this project is 786.
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.
85,974 Pounds of Pesticides Collected Through
2021 Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program
Over 5.3 Million Pounds of Pesticides Collected Since 2005
The Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program collected 85,974 pounds of unwanted pesticides in 13 counties during 2021 collection events. Since 2005, the Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program has overseen the collection of 5,351,431 pounds of unwanted pesticides in counties across Arkansas.
"The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is proud to work with our partners in administering the Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program,” says Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “Events like these, held annually throughout the state, help ensure safe and proper disposal of unwanted pesticides and prevent them from potentially polluting our environment.”
Participation in collection events is free and anonymous to farmers and other non-industrial landowners. The program is funded through pesticide registration fees. Pesticide collection events have taken place in every county in the state.
Commonly collected items include old or outdated pesticides such as calcium arsenate, sodium cyanide, lindane, chlordane, and 2,4,5-T. Registered pesticides, like glyphosate products and 2,4-D, that are unusable because they have been exposed to the elements or have been held over from previous growing seasons also can be collected.
Two collection events were held in the following 13 counties in 2021: Conway, Crawford, Cross, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Pope, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Stone, Van Buren, and Yell. The Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program is conducted in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Farm Bureau, and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment. Representatives from these agencies make up the Abandoned Pesticide Advisory Board. This board selects county sites for collection events. Priority watersheds are a large consideration for the Advisory Board in choosing counties/regions for site collection.
Arkansan Selected VP of American Soybean Association
Brad Doyle, of Weiner, was elected Vice President for the American Soybean Association (ASA) for the upcoming year. His move to Vice President places him in line to serve as the association’s president in 2022.
Doyle previously served as ASA secretary and at-large member of the ASA Governing Committee. He’s been on the ASA Board of Directors since 2017. Doyle operates Berger Farms/Eagle Seed with his wife Joyce, a second-generation soybean breeder.
The Cobb/Lyerly/Owens Partnership in Craighead County was named the 2021 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year on December 9 at a luncheon honoring the county and district Farm Families of the Year.
Through educational resources and technical assistance, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Keeping it in the Family Program has worked to address historic barriers to African Americans' success in forestry.
With assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, the program developed management plans for individual landowners. The program also leads landowners to funding from the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program to install recommended conservation practices.
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Cynthia Edwards provided an update during the meeting of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, a nonprofit organization that comprises farmers, landowners, and agricultural related businesses serving Arkansas farmers.
Shop with a Cop was held in Mountain View on December 14. Forty-six children were selected to shop and were given $150 each.
Agencies involved were Arkansas Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement Division, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, United States Forest Service, Stone County Sheriff Office, Mountain View Police Department, and Arkansas Parole and Probation.
The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission held its last quarterly meeting of 2021 on December 15 at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
Water Development Section Manager Mark Bennett, who is retiring, was honored at the meeting for his 34 years of service.
Personnel with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division have assisted with several wildland fire incidents across the state and participated in several events recently.
Nate Wooten, a new county forester with the Forestry Division, is shown receiving training from staff with the Forestry Division and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Forestry Division’s District 1 was awarded the Outstanding Tree Farm District award at a recent Arkansas Tree Farm program event. County Forester Tabitha Holloway (Tree Farm Committee vice-chair) presented the award to District Forester Trey Franks.
Smokey Bear visited the Rison Christmas Parade.
Newton County Ranger II Doug Lowery is shown below using one of the Forestry Division’s new tools, a bladder slip-in unit, on a burn in Newton County.
Wind and Solar Farms in Farm Country: Addressing Land Use Conflicts: 01/19/2022, Noon EDT, 11:00 a.m. CDT.
The terms “solar farm” and “wind farm” could not more perfectly demonstrate the inevitable pairing of renewable energy and agriculture as uses of land. Although harvesting the sun and wind for distribution through the electric grid is far from a traditional agricultural practice, farmland is typically the anticipated location for a utility-scale wind and solar facility. Policies that encourage increased production of wind and solar energy can be at odds with those that promote agricultural uses of land. Additionally, local opposition to utility-scale wind and solar development can be strong. The friction forces a policy decision on whether to prohibit or limit wind and solar development on farmland in the face of mandates and incentives for renewable energy.
In this webinar, the presenters will first review three common issues that arise between wind and solar energy development and agriculture: land consumption, local opposition, and co-location. The speakers will also highlight our research on state and local land use laws for siting wind and solar facilities and discuss recommended practices for addressing land use conflicts between wind and solar farms and farming. A summary of remaining issues and existing resources will wrap up the presentation. Learn more and register here.
Arkansas-Crops Blog Offers Info for Farmers Through Growing Season
The University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture continues its grower outreach efforts through its Arkansas-Crops blog for the 2021 growing season. The blog offers regular updates on issues facing farmers in Arkansas and provides updates on research and extension activities.
The University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture will return to in-person meetings for its upcoming 2022 winter production meetings that will begin in January. These meetings are part of the Cooperative Extension Service’s efforts to help Arkansas growers in all areas from field prep to harvest for all commodities.
USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Application Deadline Jan. 31
The application deadline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/1890 National Scholars Program is Jan. 31. The program awards scholarships to students attending one of 19 historically black land-grant universities. High school seniors entering their freshman year of college and rising college sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply.
USDA/1890 National Scholars receive full tuition towards a bachelor’s degree, books, and the cost of room and board. During the summer months while in college, the students will receive an internship with a USDA agency. After graduation, all USDA/1890 National Scholars are employed by their selected agency and must commit to at least one year of service to USDA for each year of financial assistance provided.
National scholars must major in agriculture or related sciences which include agronomy, animal sciences, botany, food sciences and technology, forestry, home economics and nutrition, horticulture, natural resources management, soil conservation, farm and range management, pre-veterinary medicine, and computer science.
Recipients are selected by both an 1890/National Scholars Program Committee and the USDA participating agencies. Recipients must apply for admission to the 1890 institution(s) of their choice and then submit a scholar’s program packet to the universities they select addressed to the USDA Liaison Office. The university submits the packet to the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, which contacts the USDA agencies that make the final selections. Applicants may apply to more than one institution, but each packet submitted must contain original signatures and transcripts.
In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey about 41,000 cattle operations nationwide to provide an up-to-date measure of U.S. cattle inventories.
“This information helps producers make timely, informed business decisions and plan for herd expansion or reduction. It also helps packers and government leaders evaluate expected slaughter volume for future months and determine potential supplies for export,” said Delta Regional Director Eugene Young. “Obtaining the current count of cattle will serve as an important decision-making tool for the entire agriculture industry.”
During the first two weeks of January, Arkansas producers will have the opportunity to report their beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop, death loss, and cattle on feed information. To make it as convenient as possible for producers to participate in the survey, NASS offers the option of responding via the internet, mail, or telephone interview with a NASS representative.
NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.
Survey results will be published in the Cattle report to be released on January 31, 2022. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/publications. For more information, call the NASS Delta Regional Office at (800) 327-2970.
2021 Arkansas Grown
With over 20 features about Arkansas agriculture, there’s something for everyone. You can view the magazine online here, find a physical copy at various locations around the state, or request a copy!
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.
For the latest in Arkansas agriculture, be sure to follow us on social media! Links to our social media pages can be found here.
Find a career in Arkansas's largest industry!
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. Check out our available positions today on the AR Careers website by searching for "agriculture" or "natural resources."
Arkansas AG Facts: Farm Family of The Year
Arkansas consistently ranks in the top one-third of the nation for agricultural receipts.
Arkansas has 42,200 farms, and 96% are family-owned.
The Arkansas agricultural industry's achievements would not be possible without the dedicated, efficient, and innovative Arkansas farm families who work tirelessly to provide food, fiber, and shelter here at home and abroad.
The Arkansas Farm Family Program is celebrating its 74th anniversary of recognizing outstanding farm families and promoting the recognition of Arkansas agriculture.
Seventy farm families have been selected this year as Farm Family of the Year in their respective counties.
Eight farm families have been selected as District Farm Family of the Year.
The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year will represent the State of Arkansas at the Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition.
The Arkansas Farm Family Program is sponsored by the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, and USDA's Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development.