Arkansas Department of Agriculture Increases Wildfire Danger Risk Level Designations for all 75 Counties
With hot, dry conditions throughout the state, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has increased the wildfire danger risk level designations for all 75 counties over the past two weeks. Twelve counties in Northwest Arkansas were raised to the “high” risk level, and the remaining counties were rated as being at a “moderate” risk for wildfire danger. Additionally, 56 counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges.

“These 90 to 100 degree days with little or no rain has led to extremely dry conditions across the entire state,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We are seeing an increase in the number of wildfires and their intensity, and that’s a trend that will continue until we see significant rainfall statewide.”

The Forestry Division maintains a county-by-county Wildfire Danger map with four risk levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found here. The risk level definitions are:

  • Low: Fuels do not ignite easily. Weather conditions will lead to slow, easy to control fires.
  • Moderate: Fire can start from accidental causes. May not become serious, but caution should be taken.
  • High: Fires ignite easily and spread quickly. Unattended brush fires and camp fires are likely to escape. Fires may become serious if not attacked early.
  • Extreme: Fires start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. Every fire started has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic behavior.

In addition to heightened risk levels, 56 Arkansas counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges. Burn bans primarily prohibit activities that involve an open flame. This includes fireworks, campfires, trash burning, open flame grilling, and prescribed or controlled burns.

Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Forestry Division, recommends taking additional precautions when driving or operating machinery.

“It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles can easily start fires by causing sparks over dry grass.”

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

Find a county-by-county burn ban map here. To learn more about burn bans in your county, find your local official’s contact information here.
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Feral Hog Eradication Task Force Update
The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in June 2022, removing over 1,200 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of over 30 feral hogs last month.

Learn more about the Task Force and its efforts here.
The Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force removed 1,280 feral hogs in June 2022
Individuals from the public reported the removal of 35 feral hogs in June 2022.
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
The 2014 Farm Bill introduced language creating the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The purpose of the Network is to improve health literacy and access to services related to mental and behavioral health for those engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. The 2018 Farm Bill included funding for this program and was distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) in grants to establish four regional projects creating the National Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.

Read more about the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network 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.

The 2023 edition of Arkansas Grown is in the works! If you're interested in purchasing advertising space, please contact Amy Lyman at amy.lyman@agriculture.arkansas.gov.
Photo Features
Secretary Wes Ward attended the ribbon cutting for the Arkansas FFA Foundation's newly renovated Fletcher Leadership Center at Camp Couchdale.
The Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation met at the Department of Agriculture.
Secretary Ward attended the change of command ceremony for Colonel Eric Noe, Commander of the Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Pictured from left to right are Chris Colclasure, Director of the Natural Resources Division, Secretary Ward, Col. Eric Noe, and Craig Pierce, Senior Civilian with the USACE Little Rock District.
County Ranger John Pressgrove (right) received his 20-year career service recognition from District Forester Trey Franks (left).
Harrold Sherwood (left) received his retirement plaque from District Forester Shane Booth (right).
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
Forage Production Workshop Hosted by Perry County Extension
The Perry County Extension Office is hosting a forage production workshop at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19 at the Perryville High School cafeteria. Forage Extension Specialists John Jennings and Forage Program Associate Kenny Simon will discuss methods to maximize grazing resources and how growers can extend their grazing period.

Registration for this event is required. Those interested should call the Perry County Extension Office at 501-889-2661. Learn more about the Extension Service's forage resources here.
Extension to Host Two Rice Field Days
The University of Arkansas System Cooperative Extension Service will be hosting two rice production field days this summer.

On July 20, the Arkansas Discovery Farm Program and Anhueser-Busch will co-host a field day at the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center (NERREC) in Poinsett County. The field day will include tours of NERREC, Pratt Farms, and Busch Agricultural Resources. Topics will include soil health, water use efficiency, row rice, and more. There is no cost to attend but an RSVP to aussery@uada.edu is appreciated for a lunch count. Read more about this field day here.

On August 5, the Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC) will host its annual Rice Field Day in Stuttgart. This field day will feature a tour of the facility with research updates on rice breeding, soil fertility, insect management, and more. No registration is required for this event and more information can be found here.
In-Person Produce Safety Training in Fayetteville
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is offering a one-day, in-person produce safety training workshop for fruit and vegetable producers. This workshop will provide information on best practices, risk management, and regulatory requirements. Topics covered will include worker health, hygiene, post-harvest handling, food safety plans, and more.

Participants can register online here. Registration is $20 per person and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on July 17.
USDA Updates
Double Cropping: Expanded Insurance Coverage FAQs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA RMA) has expanded double cropping insurance coverage in order to lower the economic risk of raising two crops on the same land in one year. This includes expanded or streamlined double crop coverage for soybeans in at least 681 counties and for grain sorghum in at least 870 counties. Read more about this announcement here.

To help with clarification, USDA RMA has released a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the expanded double cropping insurance. These FAQs address questions about eligible counties, eligible crops, relevant definitions, and more. Find the FAQs here.
$200 Million Available for Specialty Crop Farmers from USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that up to $200 million dollars is now available to help pay for food safety and food certification programs. Specialty crop growers who incurred on-farm food safety expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023 may be eligible.

The Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops program (FSCSC) helps growers offset costs to comply with regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certifications. For each year, FSCSC will cover a percentage of the specialty crop operation's cost of obtaining or renewing their certification, as well as a percentage of related expenses.

Eligible growers must be a specialty crop operation and meet the definition of a small business or a very small business. Expenses that are not eligible for this program include infrastructure improvements, equipment, supplies, salaries and benefits, and fees or penalties for late payment. Applications can be submitted through January 31, 2023.

Read more about the program and its requirements here.
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, 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.
Reminders
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.
Arkansas AG Facts: Poultry
  • Poultry is the largest sector of Arkansas agriculture.
  • Arkansas ranks #2 nationally in the production of chicken broiler meat.
  • In 2020, Arkansas inspected 1.5 billion pounds of chicken meat.
  • Arkansas has 15,487 certified flocks in the National Improvement Program.
  • In 2020, 1.1 broilers were raised and processed for national distribution.
  • As of July 8, 2021, Arkansas is home to more than 1 billion broiler chickens.
  • More than 6,500 farms in Arkansas produce some type of poultry.
  • Benton County is the number one poultry producing county in the state.
  • July 6 is celebrated as National Fried Chicken Day.
  • July 29 is National Chicken Wing Day.
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