Governor Hutchinson Declares March 20-26 as Arkansas Agriculture Week and March as Arkansas Peanut Month
During a ceremony at the State Capitol, Governor Hutchinson joined agriculture leaders and industry partners in declaring March 20 – 26 as Arkansas Agriculture Week and March as Peanut Month in Arkansas. The proclamations highlight the agriculture industry as a whole, the state’s peanut industry, and the value both contribute to Arkansas’s economy. The full proclamations can be found here and here.
“Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, providing one in six jobs in the state and contributing more than $19.4 billion annually to our economy,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Additionally, the peanut industry is one of Arkansas’s many great success stories. Our ranking as the seventh-largest producer of peanuts in the nation is a testimony to the hard work of our farmers.”
“Arkansas is a national leader in agriculture, ranking in the top 25 nationally for the production of 16 different agricultural commodities,” said Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “Arkansas led the nation in yield-per acre for peanuts in 2021 at 5,000 pounds per acre. With 35,000 acres harvested last year, the value of Arkansas’s peanut crop is more than $42 million.”
Representatives from Hormel Foods World Headquarters, which owns Skippy and Planters brands, attended the event with their mascots, Skippy and Mr. Peanut. Also in attendance were representatives of Delta Peanut, Birdsong, Arkansas Peanut Growers Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Riceland Foods, and other agriculture industry stakeholders.
“As owners of both the Skippy brand and the Planters brand with locations right here in Arkansas, we are thrilled to be here with the Governor to help celebrate the proclamation for Arkansas Peanut Month,” said Rick Williamson, corporate communications, Hormel Foods.
Photographs from this event can be found here.
Avian Influenza Emergency Rule in Effect from March 23 through July 20, 2022
As further mitigation against confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in surrounding states, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Livestock & Poultry Commission promulgated the Arkansas Avian Influenza Emergency Rule (Emergency Rule) on March 15, 2022. The new Emergency Rule will be in effect from March 23 to July 20, 2022.  

Under the Emergency Rule, it is prohibited to:
A. Exhibit poultry and domestic waterfowl;
B. Move poultry or domestic waterfowl from or within an affected area;
  • Poultry with commuter agreements or premovement avian influenza testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen capture are exempt from paragraph B.
C. Sell, barter, trade, auction, or give away, poultry or domestic waterfowl at fairs, swap meets, auctions, flea markets, and similar events and locations within an affected area.
  • Chicks and ducklings three weeks of age or less originating from a NPIP certified flock are exempt from paragraph C.
An affected area is defined by the rule as a radius of 25 miles surrounding a flock with a confirmed case of HPAI. 
Additionally, the Emergency Rule requires all free range and backyard poultry to be confined under a roof or inside a structure to prevent contamination from infected migratory birds flying overhead or by direct exposure to wild birds.
Find the full Avian Influenza Emergency Rule here.
HPAI is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry and wild birds. HPAI virus strains are extremely infections, often fatal to chickens, and can spread rapidly from flock to flock. Symptoms can include sudden increase in bird deaths with no clinical signs, lack of energy and appetite, decrease in egg production, soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs, and others. More information on HPAI can be found at here. 
Poultry owners should continue to closely monitor their flocks and report any possible symptoms to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture at 501-823-1746. More information on HPAI symptoms can be found here.
Although there have been no reports of HPAI in Arkansas this year, there have been multiple reported cases in commercial turkey flocks, commercial broiler chicken flocks, and backyard flocks of mixed species birds in the Mississippi Flyway and the Atlantic Flyway. Information regarding confirmed HPAI cases in the U.S. for 2022 can be found here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides resources on biosecurity for poultry operations through their Defend the Flock campaign, which can be found here.
Harvest of the Season Promotional Program Announced
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the Harvest of the Season promotional program, a free educational campaign that includes materials for schools to feature locally grown products in their cafeterias.

The goal of the Harvest of the Season program is to teach children about Arkansas grown foods. The program makes available local and seasonal food posters, materials featuring Arkansas farmers and distributors, and social media resources highlighting local Arkansas fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy products. Program materials are offered at no cost to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments.

Harvest of the Season was developed using funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to increase the production and consumption of specialty crops in schools. Specialty crops, as defined by the USDA, are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.

“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is proud to partner with USDA on this program to provide children in Arkansas free resources on local agriculture and nutrition,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “The lessons learned from this program can have a lasting impact on children, their families, and entire communities.”

The Harvest of the Season promotional program materials can be found here.

For more information on Harvest of the Season, contact Shannon Newerth-Henson, State Local Procurement Manager, at [email protected].
Foresters for the Future Scholarship Application Period Open Through June 15, 2022
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) are pleased to announce that applications for the Foresters for the Future scholarship are now being accepted. The scholarship will provide $4,000 per semester, for four years, to an incoming freshman pursuing a forestry degree at UAM’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

Applications will be accepted through June 15. Students interested in the scholarship can find more information on the UAM website here.

“Arkansas has nearly 19 million acres of forests with over 12 billion trees,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “This scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for a future forester to obtain a quality education and move into a dynamic and rewarding career field.”

The scholarship program was established by Act 399 of the 2021 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly. The underlying legislation, House Bill 1389, was sponsored by Representative Ken Bragg and Senator Ben Gilmore and was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson on March 17, 2021.

“The forestry industry in Arkansas is a vital contributor to the state’s economy. It is imperative that we maintain a healthy forest and right now there is actually a shortage of professional forestry graduates,” said Representative Bragg. “It is the intention of the Foresters for the Future Scholarship to increase interest and opportunities for students to pursue a degree in forestry and natural resource management.”

UAM and the Forestry Division hope the scholarship will entice students to pursue forestry as a career.

“The forestry industry is a pillar of Arkansas’s economy that impacts every area of our state,” said Dr. Peggy Doss, UAM Chancellor. “The Foresters for the Future Scholarship will support our efforts to attract and to retain a diverse group of future foresters and to prepare them for a career path that offers extensive job opportunities in the wood products industry.”

"This scholarship is a tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Michael Blazier, Dean of the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources and Director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center. “Not only does it provide substantial financial aid to help them study for a career in forestry, they get a wide range of internship options for on-the-job learning with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division."
Five Arkansas Counties Receive Water and Wastewater Project Funding
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved
$46,083,987.77 for water and wastewater projects serving more than 20,648 people in five Arkansas counties on March 16, 2022.

The projects are as follows:

  • Central Arkansas Water (CAW) received a $425,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund and a $75,000 grant from the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste Fund for water and sewer upgrades to the Perla water and wastewater systems in Hot Spring County. This project will replace all water meters and install sample and flushing stations for the water system. This project also includes replacing additional grinder pump stations and lift stations for the wastewater system. The current customer base for this project is 786.

  • The El Dorado Water Utilities, in Union County, received a $44,720,977 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund to replace outdated equipment at the North and South wastewater treatment plants. The current customer base for this project is 17,397.

  • The City of Marshall, in Searcy County, received a $77,250 loan and a $75,000 grant from the Water Development Fund to replace the existing water main with large diameter polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping to improve the system. Their current customer base for this project is 1,318.

  • The Wilburn Water Association (WWA), in Cleburne County, received a $618,060.77 loan from the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste Fund to connect to Heber Springs’ water system to improve water quality and reduce maintenance and replacement costs. The current customer base for this project is 326.

  • Dardanelle – Cardon Bottoms Levee District, in Johnson County, received $92,700 in additional loan funding from the Water Development Fund to improve soil stability for installation of a new pipeline. The current customer base for the project is 821.

More information about the Natural Resource Division’s water and wastewater programs can be found here.
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Approves Local Conservation District Board Elections and Makes Appointments 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission (Commission) approved twenty-five conservation district board elections at its meeting on March 16. The Commission also made four new board member appointments and five board member reappointments to conservation district boards.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division provides leadership and support for Arkansas’s 75 conservation districts. Conservation districts are political subdivisions of the State of Arkansas created by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1937 for the purpose of providing locally led conservation of the state’s land and water resources. Each district is governed by a board of five directors, including three elected by resident landowners and two appointed by the Natural Resources Commission.
“Many state and federal conservation programs are made available through conservation districts,” said Chris Colclasure, Director of the Natural Resources Division. “They provide technical assistance and resources to landowners in their counties, and the local board members play an especially important role in managing district business and staff,” said Colclasure.

The results from the twenty-five conservation districts board elections are:
  • Baxter County – Sherrie Bufford, Sally Hall, Mark Keaton
  • Calhoun County – John Beasley, Jeremy Martin, Robert Moore
  • Cossatot District – David Shipman, Brian Walker, Josh Walker
  • Craighead County – Jerry Clark, Greg Nall, Bradley Wallace
  • Dallas County – David Brazeale, Brenda Garrett, Donny White
  • Faulkner County – Michael Dickey, John Harrington, Jeremy Riddle
  • Garland County – Davin Anderson, Doug Meredith, David Parker
  • Hempstead County – Clay Antley, Keith Fry, Kenneth Knoll
  • Monroe County – Doug Mayhue, Samuel Medford, Todd Smith
  • Nevada County – Amy Cowling, Chance Cummings, Cory Dice
  • Newton County – Frankie Breedlove, Murl Bryant, JD Hill
  • Ouachita County – Erma Brown, Sequoyah Browning, Perry Richard
  • Perry County – Karen Brazil, Kim Thibodaux
  • Phillips County – James Kemmer, Chris Warren, Michael Taylor, Jr
  • Pike County – Doug Brown, Jason Morris, Doss Walker
  • Pope County – Jim Ed Gibson, Charles Harms, Charles David Oates
  •  Prairie County – William Anderson, Tony Richards, Ellen Seidenstricker
  •  Pulaski County – John Crabtree, Fredrick Nickerson, Trey Rosenbaum
  •  Randolph County – Matt Hibbard, Joe Steimel, Josh White
  • Sebastian County – Jim Burgess, Shawn Efurd, Jeremy May
  • Sharp County – Zack Baxter, John Katrosh, Charles Kunkel
  • Stone County – Owen Brickell, Daniel Morrison, Terry Stewart
  • Union County – Eveann George, JK Rudder
  • Van Buren County – Steve Bone, Bill Isom, Debbie Jones
  • Washington County – Sharon Arthur, Richard Allen Shumate, Caye Stubbing Mott
Three districts appointed new board members:
  • Clay County - David Ballard
  • Lawrence County - Heath Teel
  • Logan County – Isaiah Hattabaugh and Newton Koch.

Five districts reappointed board members:
  • Faulkner County – Steve Martin
  • Randolph County – Kevin Brown
  • Rich Mountain – Duane Webb
  • St. Francis County – John McDaniel
  • Stone County – Barton Foll

More information about the Natural Resource Division’s conservation programs can be found here.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Hosts “Free Tree Fridays” in Recognition of Arbor Day
In recognition of National Arbor Day, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is hosting giveaways of bare root seedlings at various locations across the state each Friday from March 18 through April 29.
“Adding trees to your yard or to a community forest is beneficial to all Arkansans, and Spring is an excellent time to plant trees,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Forestry Division. “With these giveaways celebrating Arbor Day, we hope to provide all Arkansans with access to the many benefits trees provide.”
Giveaway locations and times can be found here or by contacting Kristine Kimbro at [email protected].

The first Free Tree Friday on March 18 was a success with by 625 people stopping by to pick up 2,500 trees to be planted across Arkansas! We set up in five locations: Hot Springs, Batesville, Marshall, Arkadelphia, and Conway. Pictured are events from Hot Springs and Marshall, and Batesville.
Robert Petter of DeValls Bluff Appointed to United Soybean Board
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has appointed Robert Petter of DeValls Bluff to the United Soybean Board (USB). Petter will represent Arkansas during a three-year term as a newly-appointed farmer-leader on the board.

Petter is one of 78 farmer-leaders serving USB, which is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act. A total of 29 states, in addition to the Eastern and Western regions, are represented by the board members. The number of seats on the board is determined based on bushels produced in their region. Members of the board must be soybean farmers nominated by a Qualified State Soybean Board (QSSB).
2022 Arkansas Grown
The need for a market-based solution to forest health led to the establishment of the Arkansas Center for Forest Business at the University of Arkansas at Monticello School of Forestry.

The Center started operations in July of last year. Read about their efforts in the latest edition of the Arkansas Grown magazine! With more than 25 features about Arkansas agriculture, there’s something for everyone. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state.
Photo Features
Arkansas Women in Ag Conference
On the last day of the Arkansas Women in Agriculture conference, Secretary Ward and Representative DeAnn Vaught presented the Arkansas Women in Agriculture Week proclamation to the organization.

This proclamation declared March 13 - 19, 2022 as Arkansas Women in Agriculture Week.

Pictured, in order, are Rep. Vaught, Arkansas Women in Agriculture President Donette Spann, and Sec. Ward.
Farm to School Coordinator Erica Benoit manned the Department booth at the conference, educating attendees on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Farm to School Program.
Evette Browning, Outreach Coordinator and Arkansas Women in Agriculture incoming President, provided the welcome and closing speech at the conference.
County Forester Tabitha Holloway spoke to conference attendees about ways women can take the lead in their communities while promoting and managing access to trees.
Meat Inspection Program Director Dan Douglas led a session about the history of meat inspection in Arkansas and his experience working in the industry.
2022 Arkansas Agriculture Week & Arkansas Peanut Month
On March 22, Secretary Ward and others from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture visited the State Capitol to celebrate Arkansas Agriculture Week and Arkansas Peanut Month with Governor Hutchinson, agriculture leaders, and industry partners. We were even joined by Hormel Foods mascots, Skippy and Mr. Peanut!
Monticello Fire Refresher Training
Firefighters are required to practice fire shelter deployment annually. Pictured are Forestry Division staff repackaging a shelter for participants to practice.
All firefighters must wear approved personal protective equipment (PPE) when on the fire lines of wildfires and prescribed burns. Pictured are Forestry Division staff inspecting PPE to ensure it is still within standards.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
New Resources from the National Agricultural Law Center

Upcoming Webinars:

Blog Posts:
  • The NALC is accepting applications for a Staff Attorney Position. Staff Attorneys at the Center work on research and writing projects. This position specifically will work on issues like labor, immigration, and issues impacting underserved communities. You can find the application link here.
  • The NALC is also accepting applications for Research Fellowship positions. Research fellows assist Center attorneys with research and writing projects. Successful candidates will have completed at least their first year of law school. You can find the application link here.

Northeast Feral Hog Land Owner Workshop

The Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force will be hosting a meeting at the Reynolds Park Community Center in Paragould on April 7 at 6 p.m.

The meeting will cover program updates from participating agencies, an update from the Feral Hog Eradication Task Force, and information on how landowners can effectively remove feral hogs from their property.

Register for free here.
Listening Session for Produce Farmers
Are you interested in selling your produce to wholesalers and distributors? The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Arkansas Grown Program is hosting Listening Sessions around the state for farmers interested in selling wholesale. Join the discussion and share valuable input that can be used to further food systems and your own farm!

The two Listening Sessions currently scheduled are:
Russellville, AR
Tuesday, March 29
2 - 3:30 p.m.
Arkansas Tech University

Hope, AR
Thursday, March 31
12 - 1:30 p.m.
University of Arkansas Hope Campus
Visit and click on Events to learn more.
2022 National Young Farmer Survey - Participants Needed

The National Young Farmers Coalition is seeking young farmers and ranchers to participate in their 2022 National Young Farmer Survey. This survey is completed every five years and is used by the coalition to develop programs and policies. Those interested can complete the survey here.

For questions, contact the National Young Farmers Coalition communications director, Jessica Manly, at [email protected].
Produce Safety Grower Training

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule is the first federally regulated standard for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding fresh produce. If you grow produce, join the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service's Produce Safety Team on April 13 and 14 for a training with information on best practices, risk management, and regulatory requirements. Growers who attend the training will receive a certificate of completion. Registration is $20 per person for in-state participants and $100 for out-of-state.

Those interested should register online here before April 6.
USDA Updates
USDA Announces Plans for $250 Million Investment to Support Innovative American-made Fertilizer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced plans for a $250 million grant program that will support American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. This grant program is in response to rising fertilizer costs across the U.S.

This program will support fertilizer production that is independent, made in America, innovative, sustainable, and farmer-focused. Details on the application process will be announced in the summer of 2022, with the first awards expected before the end of 2022. Read more 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, May 26, 10:00 - 11:00 A.M. – Youth Loan Program
Special Speaker – Wes Ward, Secretary, Arkansas Deptartment 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#.
USDA Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) Certification Training
The Food Conservancy will be hosting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training workshops for fruit and vegetable growers in Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison counties. These one-day classes are for growers interested in learning about GAP and for those who have previously attended a GAP class, but not completed their certification. Those interested can sign up for one of the following dates:

  • Saturday, March 26
  • Friday, April 8

Classes are free and lunch will be provided. For more information, or to sign up, email [email protected] or call 479-334-5336.

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.
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: Ag Week
  • Ag Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture.
  • Ag Week promotes understanding of how food and fiber products are produced, and the essential role that agriculture plays in the economy.
  • Ag Day was celebrated on March 22, 2022 and falls during National Ag Week. 
  • You can find out more about Ag Day at
  • Arkansas Department of Agriculture celebrated Ag Week on social media this year.
  • Governor Hutchinson declared March 20-26 as Arkansas Agriculture Week.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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