Governor Sanders Declares November 12-18 as Arkansas Turkey Week
On November 17, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared November 12-18 as Arkansas Turkey Week. Governor Sanders was joined by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, industry partners, and agriculture leaders at the proclamation event. The Arkansas Turkey Week proclamation highlights the state’s turkey industry and its value to Arkansas’s economy and agriculture industry.
“Agriculture is Arkansas’ biggest industry and we’re all working hard to help our poultry producers grow and thrive. Thank you to our great turkey producers for helping everyone take part in the Thanksgiving tradition,” said Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The poultry industry, including turkeys, leads Arkansas’s agricultural sector with over 55 percent of the state’s agricultural cash receipts.
“Arkansas produces 26 million turkeys per year, which provides over 550 million pounds of protein annually,” said Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “We are thankful for the farmers who provide this protein throughout the entire year.”
"As the third-largest turkey producer in the country, Arkansas plays a pivotal role in ensuring that tables across the United States are adorned with quality poultry products,” said Marvin Childers, President of The Poultry Federation. “Arkansas Turkey Week is an opportunity for us to celebrate the hardworking farmers who dedicate themselves to producing turkeys of the highest standards."
At the event, Governor Sanders pardoned two live Chocolate Turkeys provided by Jackson Barber and Kaden Ables of Austin, Arkansas. Both Barber and Ables are members of the Cabot FFA Chapter and Hog Wild 4-H Club in Lonoke County.
Learn more about the turkey industry in Arkansas and its economic impact here.
Photos from the proclamation ceremony can be found here.
Williams Baptist University Announced as Fourth State-Inspected Meat Facility
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is pleased to announce that Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas is the fourth meat processing facility licensed by the Arkansas Meat Inspection Program. The facility joins Arkansas State University, JACO Meats, and Ferguson’s Packing Company as state-inspected meat processing facilities.
Governor Sanders designated November 16 as the Walnut Ridge Capital for a Day and toured the facility with Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Energy and Environment Shane Khoury, Arkansas Chief Workforce Officer Mike Rogers, as well as several local government, business, and university leaders.
“The expansion of state-inspection facilities across the state is great news for Arkansas consumers and the state’s agriculture industry,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We are hopeful that this program will continue to increase the availability of locally sourced meat and meat products for Arkansans.”
The Arkansas Meat Inspection Program was authorized by Act 418 during the 2021 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly and was finalized through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The program allows the Department to inspect meat products for shipment within Arkansas.
Arkansas is one of 28 states participating in FSIS’s State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs. These programs allow state inspectors to ensure program enforcement and regulatory compliance in small establishments operating within the state. The MPI programs must develop, administer, and enforce requirements “at least equal to” those set forth in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).
The need for additional meat processing capacity was highlighted by food supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Department worked with the Arkansas legislature and industry stakeholders to receive and distribute $10.4 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Arkansas Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program. Williams Baptist University received funding through the Arkansas Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program in 2020.
Find more information on program requirements and apply here.
Over $265 Million Provided for Arkansas Water and Wastewater Projects
On November 15, 2023, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved $265,466,658 in financial assistance for 40 water and wastewater projects serving more than 233,547 Arkansans. The entities approved for funding are as follows:
City of Alma, Crawford County
City of Altheimer, Jefferson County
City of Arkansas City, Desha County
Arkansas Environmental Training Academy
Bald Knob North Water Public Facilities Board, White County
Bee Branch Public Water Authority, Faulkner County
City of Bryant, Saline County
City of Caldwell, St. Francis County
Cedarville Waterworks Facilities Board, Crawford County
City of Clarendon, Monroe County
City of Clinton, Van Buren County
Conway County Regional Water Distribution District, Conway County
El Dorado Rural Public Water Authority, Union County
City of England, Lonoke County
City of Gillett, Arkansas County
Grand Prairie Regional Water Distribution District, Arkansas County
Grange Calamine Water Association, Sharp County
Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District 1, Carroll County
City of Holly Grove, Monroe County
City of Humphrey, Jefferson County
City of Huntsville, Madison County
Illinois River Watershed Partnership
City of Judsonia, White County
City of Kensett, White County
City of Lincoln, Washington County
Lost Bridge Village Sewer Improvement District 1 and 2, Benton County
City of Mayflower, Faulkner County
City of Monette, Craighead County
North Garland County Regional Water District, Garland County
Parthenon Water Association, Newton County
City of Prescott, Nevada County
City of Ratcliff, Logan County
City of Russellville, Pope County
Saline Regional Public Water Authority, Saline County
City of Smackover, Union County
City of Stephens, Ouachita County
Wildwood Water Association, Union County
Additional information on the projects approved for funding can be found here. More information about the Natural Resources Division’s water and wastewater programs can be found here or by contacting Debby Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-682-0548.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Collects Over 500,000 Pounds of
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program collected 503,097 pounds of unwanted pesticides across 11 counties during 2023 collection events. Since 2005, the Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program has overseen the collection and disposal of 6,368,037 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.”
The totals for each event were:
Columbia/Union County: 1,347 pounds
Bradley/Cleveland County: 2,200 pounds
Calhoun/Ouachita County: 275 pounds
Clark/Dallas County: 275 pounds
Craighead County: 168,000 pounds
Poinsett County: 130,000 pounds
Mississippi County: 201,000 pounds
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.
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.
Governor Sanders Authorizes Deployment of Arkansas Wildland Firefighters
to Assist Kentucky
Governor Sanders has authorized a crew of four wildland firefighters from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division to assist the State of Kentucky with their ongoing wildfire suppression efforts. Continued drought conditions across portions of the southern United States have resulted in an extended fire season in some states.
Forestry Division employees have been mobilized as part of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact. The compact enables participating state forestry agencies to send resources and personnel across state lines to suppress wildfires.
The four-person crew will be in Kentucky for a two-week period that began on November 13. The primary role of the crew will be to respond to and suppress new fires in eastern Kentucky. The Forestry Division also sent two dozers and two trucks to assist in the wildfire response efforts.
Earlier this month, Wes McKinney, Forestry Division Fire Management Officer, was activated as a member of the Southern Area Coordination Center Blue Team to assist in Kentucky.
Governor Sanders previously authorized the deployment of wildland firefighter crews to Mississippi from October 10 to 24, Louisiana from September 8 to 23, and Oregon from August 7 to 27.
2023 Foresters for the Future Scholarship Recipient Spotlight
Jackson Boles, recipient of the 2023 Foresters for the Future Scholarship, spoke with THV11 on his passion for forestry. Jackson is a native of Waldron, Arkansas, and a freshman at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). The Foresters for the Future Scholarship provides $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. Learn more about Jackson here.
Feral Hog Eradication Task Force: October 2023 Update
The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in October 2023 and removed 646 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of 88 feral hogs. Learn more about the Task Force and its efforts here.
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
Equine trails, research plots, campgrounds, and demonstration forests are just some of the components of Poison Springs State Forest. Nestled off Highway 76, Poison Springs State Forest aims to demonstrate how climate-smart forest management can serve multiple purposes.
Read more about Poison Springs State Forest 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.
On November 15, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) met at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department). At the meeting, Department staff presented the draft water provider rules as a result of Act 545 of the 2023 session and the ANRC approved 40 water and wastewater projects for financial assistance. Additionally, Commissioner William Anderson gave a report from the recent Water Well Construction Committee meeting.
On November 14, members of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and industry partners met with Governor Sanders to recognize November as Arkansas Soybean Month. Learn more about the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board here.
On November 8, Secretary Ward joined Arkansas State University (ASU) and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to announce a new partnership to produce and distribute snack sticks for school children across the state in efforts to battle food insecurity. Learn more about the partnership here.
On November 8, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture hosted visitors from the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Chapters of the University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas Tech University, and Arkansas Lighthouse Charter Schools Jr. Chapter. Visitors connected with staff to learn about the Department. The event was sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas.
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.
TED Talk: A Cleaner World Could Start in a Rice Field
Jim Whitaker and Jessica Whitaker Allen
Fifth-generation Arkansas rice farmer Jim Whitaker and his daughter, farmer and conservationist Jessica Whitaker Allen, were featured in a TED Talk discussing how they are implementing innovative farming practices to reduce rice's environmental impacts. Watch the TED Talk here.
Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Provides Free Nematode Tests for Farmers
The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board is continuing its partnership with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service to provide complimentary soybean nematode tests to farmers through a grant made available by the Soybean Checkoff.
Nematodes can have a detrimental impact on both small plots to large fields. In susceptible crop varieties, the consequences can be significant, resulting in up to a 90% reduction in yield in small plots, 50% in strip trials, and 25-35% in field-wide commercial production fields.
Arkansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program Accepting Applications for Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo Registration Waivers
The Arkansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program will award two registration waivers for beginning or established limited resource farmers that are interested in attending the Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo in Hot Springs on January 25-27, 2024. Applications will be accepted until December 1, 2023. Learn more and apply here.
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to Host Workshop for Feral Hog Trappers
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will host a train-the-trainer workshop about feral hog trapping on December 8, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southwest Research and Extension Center. This training is designed for agency feral hog trappers and participants will learn trapping practices which apply to many trap types plus proper installation of these new additions. Registration is free, but participations must register here by December 1, 2023.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture's
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-NASS along with the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) announced that major report briefings will now be live-streamed with information on both the NASS report and WASDE report.
Each briefing, including the recent November report, is recorded and can be found here.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting 2024 CSP and EQIP Applications Through December 8
Farmers and landowners in Arkansas have until December 8, 2023, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation activities through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2024 program year. Applicants can sign up at their local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Service Center. Learn more about the CSP here and EQIP here.
Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections
Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and location administration of federal farm programs. Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Elections occur each year in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA). LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees in a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. More information can be found here or by contacting your local FSA office.
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.