Governor Hutchinson Presents Arkansas Rice Month Proclamation

On September 14, members of Arkansas’s rice community accepted a proclamation from Governor Asa Hutchinson declaring September Arkansas Rice Month.

The proclamation highlights the state’s rice industry and its value to Arkansas’s economy and agriculture industry. The full proclamation can be found here.

Governor Hutchinson has also proclaimed September as Hunger Action Month. Following the Rice Month proclamation, it was announced that the Arkansas rice industry will donate nearly 85 tons of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank in honor of Arkansas Rice Month and Hunger Action Month. Learn about Arkansas rice, find recipes, nutritional information, and more on the Arkansas Rice website.
Ralston Family Farms Makes First Official Rice Sale to China

Governor Hutchinson, along with Tim and Robin Ralston of Ralston Family Farms, announced on September 14 that a shipment of rice from Ralston Family Farms is the first rice from Arkansas to be exported to China.

Through a contract with a private importer in China, the first shipment of rice from Ralston Family Farms arrived in China in late July 2021. A second shipment is being scheduled with future shipments planned on regular intervals to meet demand. The rice will be sold on the retail market under the label of Ralston Family Farms.

Read more about this industry leading export sale here.
2021 Rural Fire Show

Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division is hosting their annual Rural Fire Show on Saturday, October 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Conway Expo & Event Center. There will be two ‘Wildland Fire Discussions’ hosted by the Arkansas Rural and Volunteer Firefighters Association (ARVFA).

ARVFA will also provide lunch during the event. Please RSVP by emailing Lisa Clark, [email protected] or call the Rural Fire Protection office at (501) 679-3171. 
Northwest Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Tour

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission met in Fayetteville on September 15, 2021. Prior to the meeting, Commission members and Department staff toured several projects in the area that were previously approved for funding, including the Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant and Bentonville Transmission Line, the Siloam Springs Water Intake Point and Water Treatment Plant, and the Riparian Restoration Project at the Course at Sager’s Crossing.
How Foresters, Loggers, Forest Owners, and the Forest Industry Became Champions for Clean Water

State Forester and Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division Director, Joe Fox, was recently featured on the Southern Group of State Foresters Blog.

Fox said, "Water is the most important substance on the planet – the presence of clean and abundant water is crucial to the survival of humans and thriving communities. Healthy rivers, streams, springs, and lakes are also a big part of what makes the southeastern United States so unique and special. From sustaining life on earth to sustaining our economy and future, good water quality is essential.

But what does this have to do with forestry? Well… Everything.
In the Southeast, more than 44% of the total water supply, or about 98 trillion gallons, comes through state and private forests before it makes its way into waterbodies. This means that what happens in the forest, doesn’t just stay in the forest. Providing more than half of the available water supply for 14 million people, healthy forests that effectively filter water, recharge aquifers, and prevent erosion are central to supporting our fundamental need for clean water."

Read more of Fox's blog post to learn about how Arkansas and surrounding states are champions for clean water.
Four Arkansas Counties Receive Water and Wastewater Project Funding

  • The Springdale Water & Sewer Commission in Washington County received a $2,054,083 loan and a $1,000,000 loan with principal forgiveness from the Arkansas Clean Water State Revolving Loan Program to be used for improvements to the Bethel Heights Wastewater System and remediation of the Bethel Heights treatment plants. This project will include constructing approximately 6,000 linear feet of a sanitary gravity sewer main to alter existing flows from the former Bethel Heights wastewater system to the Springdale wastewater collection system. The former Bethel Heights wastewater collection system had approximately 615 customers.
  • The City of Fisher in Poinsett County received an $83,843.20 grant from the Arkansas Water, Waste Disposal, and Pollution Abatement Facilities General Obligation Bond Fund to pay off the outstanding balance on a prior loan. The City of Hickory Ridge and the City of Fisher have agreed to regionalize Fisher’s sewer system into the Hickory Ridge sewer system with Hickory Ridge providing all necessary operation and maintenance. Fisher’s former wastewater system served approximately 70 customers.
  • The Fouche Island Drainage District No. 2 in Pulaski County received additional loan funding up to $618,000 from the Water Development Fund to complete a previously approved levee relocation project. 
  • The Lost Bridge Village Water & Sewer Improvement District No. 1 & 2 in Benton County received $300,000 in additional funding from the Arkansas Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund for its new wastewater treatment plant project. The customer base for this project is 410.
Burn Bans in Arkansas

Weather conditions in Arkansas are closely monitored for potential fire hazard. Burn bans, a prohibition of any kind of outside burning for a period of up to 60 (sixty) days from the day the ban is issued or until lifted by the County Judge, are issued as needed. Visit the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division webpage: to find burn bans by county. Prescribed Burns and Wildfire Danger Status can also be found at this webpage.
Farmers Can Retire Too: Estate Planning Webinar

Penn State Extension is hosting a free webinar discussing how to get started evaluating the best practices for your estate.

The event will be Thursday, October 21, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is being offered at no charge to participants.

Registration is required to receive the link to the webinar, as well as access to the webinar recording. The deadline to register is October 20 at 11:59 p.m. eastern. Registration can be found here.

USDA Updates
September 2021 Crop Production Report

Through the 2021 crop season, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will publish Monthly Crop Production Reports.

The reports are released monthly and provide annual forecasts for supply and use of U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton. The reports also cover U.S. supply and use of sugar, meat, poultry eggs and milk, as well as Mexico’s supply and use of sugar.

The September report was released September 10, and upcoming reports will be released October 12 and November 9. Find the full September report here. For more information about the reports visit the USDA website.
USDA Invests $464 Million in Renewable Energy Infrastructure to Help Rural Communities, Businesses, and Agriculture Producers Build Back Better

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on September 9 that the USDA is investing $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers, and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

Read more about the announcement and use of funds here.
2021 Arkansas Grown

It's Arkansas Hunger Action Month! Read about how local foods for local tables fought 2020 pandemic food insecurity 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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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 ranks in the TOP 25 nationally in the production of 15 different agricultural commodities.
  • Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry contributing more than $21 billion annually to the economy.
  • Arkansas is nationally ranked #1 in rice production, valued at $1 Billion dollars.
  • Arkansas boasts 42% of land comprised of farms and 56% comprised of forestland.
  • Arkansas harvested 33,000 acres of peanuts which amounted to 171,600 pounds produced. 
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