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
  • H2Ozarks
  • 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 [email protected] or 501-682-0548.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture Collects Over 500,000 Pounds of

Unwanted Pesticides

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.

Photo Features

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.

Upcoming Webinars:


Recent Blog Posts:

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.

Producers can claim their free testing by contacting their county extension office.

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
Annual Report

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 Updates

November 2023 Crop Production Report

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)'s November 2023 Crop Production Report and the November 2023 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report  have been published.

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.

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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Ag Facts: Arkansas Turkey Week

  • The Arkansas poultry industry, including turkeys, broilers, and eggs, leads Arkansas’s agricultural sector with total cash receipts of $7.8 billion or over 55% of state agricultural cash receipts.
  • Arkansas ranks third in the nation in turkeys raised, producing 12.4% of all turkeys raised in the United States.
  • Arkansas produces 26 million turkeys per year, providing over 556 million pounds of protein annually.
  • Arkansas turkey production adds approximately $594 million in value to Arkansas’s economy annually.
  • The Arkansas turkey industry creates and supports 17,538 jobs in Arkansas.
  • Cargill and Butterball, two of the largest turkey companies in the United States, have facilities in four Arkansas cities: Springdale, Huntsville, Jonesboro, and Ozark.
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The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.