Arkansas FireSMART Mobile Application

In October 2022, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment announced the launch of the Arkansas FireSMART mobile application. This app offers row crop producers and forest landowners a simple, easy way to check conditions and report prescribed burns.

With the app, producers can select the area they plan to burn on a map and the application will generate real-time weather data, letting producers know if current conditions align with the state’s Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines. Under Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines, producers and landowners report prescribed burns to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center. The FireSMART app also streamlines this process, making the app a one-stop shop for reporting and information.

Access the FireSMART here. Find the Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines here.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture Leadership Recognized at National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Annual Meeting

Last week, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) held its annual meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming where Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward was elected vice president for 2023-2024.

“It is a great honor to be elected as vice president of NASDA,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “I am proud to represent Arkansas within the organization and look forward to continued collaboration with our nation’s states and territories to support U.S. agriculture.”

At the meeting, recipients of the 2023 NASDA Honor Awards were announced. Arkansas Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Cynthia Edwards received the Douglass-Irvin Administration Award. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions within a state agency resulting in improved efficiency and impact. Edwards has served as Deputy Secretary since 2011.

NASDA, founded in 1916, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances American agriculture through policy, partnerships, and public engagement.

NASDA is governed by a 10-member board of directors which includes executive committee members who serve as officers of the association. Officers for the upcoming year are Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma, President; Wes Ward, Arkansas, Vice President; Amanda Beal, Maine, Second Vice President; and Derek Sandison, Washington, Secretary-Treasurer.

Learn more about NASDA here.

Feral Hog Eradication Task Force: August 2023 Update

The Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force removed 1,729 feral hogs in August 2023. Individuals from the public reported the removal of eight feral hogs in August 2023. Learn more about the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force here.

Southern Group of State Foresters: Unprecedented heat, drought pushing southern fire danger to extremes

The Southern United States faced a challenging summer with unrelenting daily temperatures of more than 100 degrees, abnormally low relative humidity, critically dry vegetative fuels ready to burn, wildfires exhibiting extreme fire behavior, and to top it off — a hurricane.

Hot summers and wildfires are not new to the South. Nor is interagency cooperation in responding to and suppressing wildfires. But this summer has been far from normal, and in the case of Louisiana wildfires this August — unprecedented.

Read the full release from the Southern Group of State Foresters here.

2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine

In 2018, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture noticed a lack of specialty crop growers associations in the state. This led to funding through the United States Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant to create the Arkansas Blackberry Growers Association.

Read more about how this association is improving one of Arkansas's favorite specialty crops 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

Last month, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) hosted the 2023 Southwest Assurance Program for metrologists. This meeting is a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Regional Measurement Assurance Program to provide ongoing training and networking for state metrology laboratories. Department attendees included Jill Franke, Metrology Laboratory Manager; Cheryl Fossler, Laboratory Services Quality Manager; Kayla Hankins, Senior Metrologist; and Claude Riche (Metrologist).

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:

2024 Farm School Applications Due September 30
The Center for Arkansas Farms and Food (CAFF) Farm School is an intensive 11-month program teaching regenerative farming methods and small farm entrepreneurship. The Farm School covers topics including farm production, soil health, crop planning, business, legal, and marketing. Participants don't need any farming experience to apply. After completion, students will have a business plan and the skills to start a small farm business or work for an existing farm. Applications are due by September 30, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

James E. Tatum Scholarship Program Accepting Applications

The National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Conservation Service Employees is now accepting applications for the James E. Tatum Scholarship Program. The program offers a limited scholarship to fund United States citizens who are seeking a bachelor’s degree in agriculture sciences or related fields at one of the nineteen 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. (CST) on October 27, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

2024 Soybean Science Challenge Now Open

The Soybean Science Challenge, sponsored by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, is open for students grades six through 12 across the state. The Soybean Science challenge is a series of online classes that results in science projects at science fairs across the state, with soybeans at the center of those projects. The Soybean Science Challenge encourages Arkansas junior high and high school students to learn about soybeans and other current soil, water, seed, disease, and insect issues that impact production outcomes and agricultural sustainability. Learn more here.

University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to Host Cattle Artificial Insemination Workshops

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will conduct a pair of two-day workshops in cattle artificial insemination. The workshops are scheduled for October 12-13 and November 9-10. The courses will both be held at the Southwest Research and Extension Center, located at 362 Hwy. 174 N., Hope, Arkansas.

The registration fee for each workshop is $450, which includes lunch. Payments must be made prior to the workshops. Registration fees are non-refundable and will not be accepted on-site. Fees are due by October 9 for the October session and by November 6 for the November session. Learn more and register here

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

United States Department of Agriculture Designates Disaster Areas in Arkansas

On September 5, the United States Department of Agriculture designated seven Arkansas counties as primary disaster areas due to tornadoes, high wind, hail, lightning, and excessive rain that occurred in the state from June 7 to July 14, 2023. The primary counties designated as disaster areas are as follows:

  • Ashley
  • Conway
  • Mississippi
  • Monroe
  • Pope
  • Prairie
  • Stone

Additionally, the following 26 Arkansas counties were designated contiguous disaster counties:

  • Arkansas
  • Baxter
  • Bradley
  • Chicot
  • Cleburne
  • Craighead
  • Crittenden
  • Drew
  • Faulkner
  • Independence
  • Izard
  • Johnson
  • Lee
  • Logan
  • Lonoke
  • Newton
  • Perry
  • Phillips
  • Poinsett
  • St. Francis
  • Searcy
  • Union
  • Van Buren
  • White
  • Woodruff
  • Yell

Read more about the designations here.

In response to the designation, the United States Small Business Administration announced that economic injury disaster loans are available to Arkansas small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations in the 33 counties above. These low-interest federal disaster loans are for economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by excessive rain, hail, high winds, lightning, and tornadoes that occurred from June 7 to July 14, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

September 2023 Crop Production Report

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)'s September 2023 Crop Production Report and the September 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 September report, is recorded and can be found here.

Computer Usage on Farms Survey Results

The results from the August 2023 Technology Use (Farm Computer Usage and Ownership) survey have been released. Farm technology use is estimated biennially in August. Estimates made for this program include percent of farms that own or use a computer, and percent of farms with access to the Internet. Find the full report here. Learn more about the survey here.

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.

Ag Facts: Wildfire Response

  • Arkansas's economy is the most forestry dependent of all the southern states.
  • Arkansas has 19 million acres of forests with over 12 billion trees.
  • The Forestry Division (Division) is responsible for the protection of more than 15 million acres of non-federal forestland in Arkansas.
  • The Division is involved in the following activities for wildfire protection: prevention, pre-suppression, detection, and suppression.
  • In fiscal year 2023, the Division suppressed more than 1,084 wildfires on 17,470 acres.
  • In 2022, the highest wildfire frequency months were July and October.
  • Division pilots use aerial surveillance for forestry-related issues, including wildfire detection.
  • The Division has a total of 108 firefighting units, each comprised of a bulldozer and transport truck.
  • Visit here to learn more about the Division's work to protect Arkansas's forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards.
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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.