National Poll Shows COVID-19 Taking Heavy Toll on Farmers’ Mental Health

A strong majority of farmers/farmworkers say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their mental health, and more than half say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago, according to an American Farm Bureau poll.

Complicating this issue is that many farmers are reluctant to talk about the effects of stress or seek help. The Farm State of Mind initiative provides farmers with resources, encourages conversations, and reduces the stigma surrounding the issue of mental health.

The Farm State of Mind campaign is designed to encourage an open dialogue among farmers through social channels and offers a variety of tips, resources, and referrals to address mental health needs. Farm State of Mind has already reached millions of farmers across the country and that number continues to grow.

In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, the American Farm Bureau Federation has launched a comprehensive, easy-to-use online directory of resources for farmers, ranchers, and their families who are experiencing stress and mental health challenges.

The directory, which is on the Farm State of Mind website at, features listings for crisis hotlines and support lines, counseling services, training opportunities, podcasts, videos, published articles, and other resources in every U.S. state and Puerto Rico.

Listings for crisis support, counseling, and behavioral health resources that are available nationwide can be found at their resources directory here.
Reminder: Century Farm Applications Due May 31

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications for the 2021 Arkansas Century Farm program through May 31. This program recognizes Arkansas families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. Online and printable applications are available on the Department's website. There is no cost to apply. 

Arkansas is home to more than 42,300 farms, of which 96 percent are family owned and operated. Since the Arkansas Century Farm program began in 2012, 494 farms from 72 counties, have been certified. Find lists of previously inducted Arkansas Century Farm families here.
Foresters of the Future Scholarship

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) are pleased to announce a new scholarship opportunity, Foresters for the Future. 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.
USDA Expands Aquaculture Disaster Assistance to Include Fish Raised for Food

On May 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced a policy change that makes food fish and other aquatic species eligible for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). The policy change comes in response to the catastrophic aquaculture losses due to major winter storms that hit states along the U.S. Gulf Coast in February. Previously, only farm-raised game and bait fish were eligible for death loss ELAP benefits. Beginning June 1, eligible aquaculture producers can request ELAP assistance for 2021 losses. This policy change is for the 2021 and subsequent program years.

ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary.

To be eligible, losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2021. For farm-raised fish and other aquatic species death losses only that occurred prior to June 1, 2021, FSA is waiving the requirement to file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. An aquaculture producer will still need to be able to provide contemporaneous records upon request to document the eligible loss event and demonstrate the beginning and ending inventory. The deadline to file an application for payment for the 2021 program year is Jan. 31, 2022.
New Show Will Highlight Arkansas Forests and Culture

Arkansas will be featured on an upcoming episode of "America's Forests with Chuck Leavell." The show captures the diversity of our nation’s woodlands – both public and private, featuring different stories that demonstrate how vital forest habitats are to the well-being and economic health of communities across the country. In this series, audiences will see individuals who embody this passion for the woods, from architects to artists, from climbers to carpenters.

The show celebrates America’s forests and advocates for their constructive management, while also exploring cultural themes related to timber and forests in each state. They have also developed a communications campaign centered on a broadcast television documentary series for PBS and multi-faceted social media outreach.

Leavell and his team visited the different types of forests and unique forestry related attractions in Arkansas. Leavell's Arkansas experience included: visiting the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, floating the Buffalo River, meeting local wood craftsman and musicians, touring the first U.S. location of Structurlam in Conway, Arkansas where Governor Hutchinson was also in attendance, visiting the Big Lake Hunting Club, immersing himself in Arkansas timber production, and visiting the Delta Cultural Center.

While the date is still to be determined, the Arkansas episode will premier sometime this fall. To learn more about "America's Forests with Chuck Leavell" visit the website. To view photos from the Arkansas visit, provided by James Edward Mills, visit his Flikr albums.
Campaign Encourages Public to Share Arkansas Ag Pictures on Social Media

Picture this: 20 minutes into your U-pick orchard visit you spot it — the perfect Arkansas summer peach and an adorable farm dog. A couple of clicks later and your peach, the pooch, and your smiling face are all over Instagram.

That desire to share what’s good in your world is the driver behind Experience Arkansas Agriculture, a multi-agency campaign led by the Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, which launched May 12.

The program aims to leverage consumer interest in local foods, strengthen the connections between consumers and sources of their food, and help promote Arkansas agriculture, agritourism, and other ag-related entrepreneurship.

“As our largest industry, agriculture contributes more than $21 billion to the state’s economy annually and provides one of every six jobs,” Ward said. “It touches every corner of our state and impacts the lives of every citizen, every day. Sharing the story of Arkansas agriculture will not only connect the public to our producers, but also truly showcase the diverse ways agriculture serves all our communities.”

An array of activities are planned to promote the more than 1,500 farms and 110 farmers markets across Arkansas. The campaign launched with a website and social media via Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
2021 "Tree"-mendous Educators

Jackie Brady and Jackie Scott have been recognized as the first ever Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division's "Tree"-mendous Educators! 

Brady has been an Education Accelerated by Service and Technology (EAST) facilitator for over ten years. She has been at Hope Academy of Public Service (HAPS) for 5 years as the EAST facilitator. She encourages students to think critically and to learn how to work well as individuals or in a team.

"She is known all around the school for having a green thumb. She can tell you anything you need to know about plants or gardening," said one of Brady's students. "She wants the best for her students. She can see the potential in all of of us, and she pushes us to that point. Once we get to that point, well all of her students are unstoppable."

Brady devotes much of her time to promoting planting projects and Denny’s Place, an earth sciences garden at the HAPS. She works closely with the Hempstead County Master Gardeners of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to collaborate on the development of the garden. This winter, Brady was able to secure funding for the garden, and Denny's Place was named an Arkansas School Garden Grant Program grantee. She opted to use part of the funding to plant trees with her students.

Scott is a sixth grade science lab teacher and soccer coach at Mann Magnet Middle School in Little Rock. Since 2014, Scott has been actively involved with the Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) as an educator, and continuously seeks new ways to help her students be excited about learning.

"She has a 'go-getter' attitude and looks for new, interactive, and innovative ways to engage her students," said Rob Beadel AFA Director of Forestry Education and Arkansas Project Learning Tree Coordinator. "Her approach to include each student in labs and classroom activities levels the playing field and fosters success in every student. She truly cares about their success both in and outside her classroom where she strives to provide the best education, mentoring, and learning environment as possible."

Scott’s most recent endeavor is working with her students to create garden areas around their school building – a rarity for an urban school in the middle of Little Rock. This past fall they built raised bed gardens, providing essential hands-on life skills to her students and for use in her life and earth science labs. This spring, she was successful at securing grants and donations from the community so her students could plant the raised beds and container gardens with native pollinator plants, herbs, and vegetables.

In recognition for their efforts Brady and Scott will be presented with their choice of a containerized tree to plant. The "Tree"-mendous Educator Award is a new annual recognition that will occur during Teacher Appreciation Week each year. For more information about classroom or community development opportunities regarding trees, visit our website or contact Kristine Kimbro at

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture attended the Arkansas Made - Arkansas Proud Market on May 15, to promote the Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made branded programs.

For more information about the Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made programs visit their website.
Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest
Entries Accepted Through June 6

Entries are now being accepted for the eighth annual Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas.

Applicants may be any school, early childhood education facility, or alternative learning environment that had a school garden during the 2020-2021 school year or is planning to start a garden in the 2021-2022 school year. Entries for the contest will be accepted through June 6, 2021, and can be found here. Winners will be announced at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

Applicants are eligible to apply for the following categories:
  • Best Start-up School Garden Proposal - $500
  • Best Education Based School Garden - $500
  • Best Harvest Partnership School Garden - $500
  • Best Community Collaboration School Garden - $500
  • Best Overall School Garden - $1000
  • Champion of School Garden Sustainability - $1000

You can find more information about the Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest and the Arkansas Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program here.
Arkansas Volunteer Fire Departments Receive Wildfire Suppression Kits from Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division

The Rural Fire Protection program, managed by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, received $294,442.24 to purchase and distribute 96 Wildfire Suppression Kits to rural volunteer fire departments. The money was awarded as part of the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant from the United States Forest Service.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner of Forestry Division crews in wildfire response and suppression, but they are often in need of the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. The equipment distributed this year in the Wildfire Suppression Kits included lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls and gloves, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers. Since 2014, more than 490 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Protection program valued at $1,499,411.34.

Any volunteer fire department interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program must submit an application, which is then scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The next application period for the Wildfire Suppression Kit program is expected to begin August 2021.

Fire Departments should receive an application by mail, or they can be found on our website when the application period opens. Fire Departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at or (501) 679-3183 with questions regarding the application. To see the full list of recipients visit here.
2021 Arkansas Grown

It's Arkansas Egg Month! Learn more about the positive impacts of the Arkansas poultry industry in the latest edition of the Arkansas Grown magazine.

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.

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 has 925,000 head of beef cows and 1,770,000 head of cattle and calves.
  • There are 25,372 farms with cattle and calves and 23,036 farms with beef cows in the state of Arkansas.
  • Arkansas has cattle production in each of the state's 75 counties.
  • The state of Arkansas ranks 11th in the nation in the production of beef cows and 17th in the nation in the production of cattle and calves.
  • Cattle and calves consistently rank among Arkansas's top five agricultural commodities in cash receipts, valued at more than $452 million.
  • Arkansas exports beef and beef products totaling more than $55.2 million to trade partners around the world.
  • Beef is a good source of high-quality protein and other essential nutrients including iron and zinc.
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