Arkansas State Plant Board Holds First Meeting After New Appointments
On August 24, the Arkansas State Plant Board held its first meeting after Governor Sanders appointed eight new members on August 15. The new members are:
  • Kyle Baltz, Pocahontas
  • Robert Thorne, Marion
  • David Wallace, Jr., Crawfordsville
  • Sammy Angel, Lake Village
  • Robin Ralston, Atkins
  • George Dunklin, Humphrey
  • Garrett Frost, Marianna
  • Jon Bierbaum, Lake Village
The new members were given introductions to staff and updates on sections and programs within the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industries Division, including the Regulatory Services Section, Quality Control Section, Pesticide Section, and Bureau of Standards. The Board also received a report from the Department’s Abandoned Pesticide Collection Program in which, to date, 5.8 million pounds of abandoned pesticides have been safely collected and disposed of.
The Arkansas State Plant Board also elected the following officers: 
  • Chairman – Matthew Marsh
  • Vice Chairman – Bruce Alford
  • Secretary – Sam Stuckey

Additionally, the Board approved enforcement settlements associated with two Pest Control Program violations, 39 Pesticide Program violations, and 144 Bureau of Standards violations.
Arkansas Firefighters Return From Out-Of-State Detail in Oregon
On August 7, a crew of four wildland firefighters with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division left to work wildfires in Oregon. The crew returned on August 27 after working in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in a 12-person fire suppression module.
Suppression modules are typically comprised of at least five firefighters and are primarily used to extinguish and/or prevent the movement of unwanted fire. Due to the recent wildfire activity and drought levels in the region, the module was assembled to assist with fire suppression. The crew worked on the 69-acre Corral Fire in Northeast Oregon, which was contained on August 18.
“This region is experiencing drought and their emergency response resources were running thin,” said Wes McKinney, Fire Management Officer for the Forestry Division. “They were seeing multiple fires over multiple days and needed additional support.”
The crew consists of the following wildland firefighters from Arkansas:
  • Deric Franks (District 8)
  • Lee Chambers (District 8)
  • Eric Rogers (District 6)
  • Keaton Phillips (District 6)
“We are proud of our staff who volunteered to do hard, labor-intensive work to help safeguard the people of Oregon,” said Arkansas State Forester Kyle Cunningham. “They are honored to use their training and expertise to provide assistance.” 
Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program Accepting School
Applications through September 15
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division (Forestry Division) is accepting applications for the 2023 Shade Trees on Playground (STOP) program through September 15, 2023. Arkansas schools needing additional shade on playgrounds can find the STOP program application and guidelines here.
Selected schools receive up to five Arkansas native shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines. Forestry Division staff will help plant the trees during a ceremony with students this fall.
The STOP program began 21 years ago to help lower adult skin care risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds. Since then, approximately 165 Arkansas schools have received trees. The STOP program also provides teachers with curriculum resources about the environmental benefits of trees, how shade reduces skin cancer risks, and tips for keeping trees healthy.
“The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator. “We hope this program not only improves the health of Arkansas students but also leaves a lasting impression about the value of community trees and how to be good stewards of our natural resources.”
Trees native to Arkansas are chosen by Forestry Division staff to fit the region and conditions of each playground. Sycamores, oaks, tulip poplars, and black gum trees are common species for the program.
To participate in the STOP program, a school must meet the criteria below:
  • Have a lack of shade on a school playground.
  • Participate in a STOP workshop to be held virtually on October 2, 2023.
  • Use provided curriculum resource materials to emphasize the importance of trees during the week(s) leading up to the planting event.
  • Involve students in tree-related projects that culminate with a school-wide planting ceremony.
  • Hold a planting ceremony prior to December 21, 2023.
  • Have a plan for maintaining trees after planting.
Applicants may be any public or private Arkansas school serving grades pre-K through 12, or a non-traditional educational facility such as a juvenile detention center, residential childcare institution, or long-term care facility.
Learn more about the STOP program here. For more information, please contact Kristine Kimbro at [email protected] or Harold Fisher at [email protected]
USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Arkansas
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded over $364,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Arkansas. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will fund two projects in the state that will enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research. Learn more here.
State Forester Interview - Arkansas AgCast

Arkansas State Forester Kyle Cunningham had the opportunity to share the Forestry Division’s mission and priorities on the latest Arkansas AgCast DeepDive. Listen to the episode here.
Justin Madding Artwork Selected for 2023 Arkansas Duck Stamp
The 2023 Arkansas duck stamp was unveiled on August 26 during the 32nd annual Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet. The unveiling was witnessed by a record-breaking crowd of 1,800 gathered at the Little Rock Convention Center.

Justin Madding, artist and inspector for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Livestock and Poultry Division, created the artwork for the stamp entitled "Pintails Over Penn Bay." The scene depicts pintail ducks making their way to a small cove nestled in a bend of the treasured Cache River. Learn more here.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Director Austin Booth (left) and artist Justin Madding of Danville unveiled the artwork for the 2023-24 Arkansas duck stamp in front of a record-breaking Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet crowd August 26. Photo credit: AGFC
2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine
The McGarrah family settled in Northwest Arkansas in 1824 and there has been a McGarrah farming in Washington and Benton counties ever since. Now, almost two centuries later, Dennis McGarrah Sr. and his son, Dennis McGarrah Jr., farm close to 100 acres of specialty crops in Fayetteville, Pea Ridge, and Lowell.

Read more about McGarrah farms 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, Secretary Ward attended the 2023 Tri-National Agricultural Accord with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Delegates discussed the inclusion of indigenous communities in agriculture, regulatory harmonization across North America, and the importance of science- and evidence-based decisions.
On August 25, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture honored and celebrated the career of Deputy State Forester Mark Cutrer. Mark has served Arkansas as Deputy State Forester since 2015 and is retiring with 28 years of experience in the forestry industry. Join us in congratulating Mark on his retirement and his dedication to protecting Arkansas’s forests and those who enjoy them! 

On August 24, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture hosted a visit from Global Ties Arkansas. Ambassadors from Germany had the opportunity to learn about Arkansas agriculture and its global importance.

Congratulations to Halie Keltner for winning a PK Go Grill and a gift card to a local meat market for her participation in 2023 Rock City Burger Week!
Last month, David Jones retired from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Egg and Poultry Program after 46 years of service. During his time at the Department, David worked as a grader at multiple processing locations. We appreciate David and wish him well in retirement!
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:
USA Rice Leadership Program
The Rice Leadership Development Program is funded by grants from John Deere Company, RiceTec, and American Commodity Company to The Rice Foundation. The USA Rice Federation develops and manages the program on behalf of The Rice Foundation.

The Rice Leadership Development Program gives future leaders a comprehensive understanding of the rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills. The class attends four one-week sessions over a two-year period and workshops designed to strengthen leadership skills.

Applications and recommendations will be accepted until September 8, 2023. Visit here for more information and to apply.
Veggie to Value: A Food Entrepreneur Bootcamp
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a free workshop on September 12 focused on growing and developing home food businesses in Arkansas. The workshop will provide information on home-based food processing, value-added foods, the Arkansas Food Freedom Act, and more. The workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Service State Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. Registration is free, but required to attend. Learn more and register here.
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.

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
Community Wildfire Defense Grants
The United States Forest Service is accepting applications for the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. The program is designed to assist at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies, and Alaska Native Corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. Applications will be accepted until October 31, 2023. Learn more about the grant and eligibility requirements 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: Arkansas Rice Month
  • Governor Sanders has proclaimed September as Arkansas Rice Month!
  • Rice is a primary staple for more than half of the world's population and has been one of the most important foods throughout history.
  • Rice is one of the United States’ oldest crops, and today, rice grown in Arkansas makes an important contribution to our nation's diet and economy.
  • The U.S. produces approximately 16 billion pounds of rice annually, and Arkansas is a key supplier of U.S.-grown rice, producing approximately 8 billion pounds annually.
  • Rice is grown in 40 of Arkansas’s 75 counties and production is concentrated in the eastern half of the state.
  • Rice production, processing, merchandising, and related industries are vital to economic activity in Arkansas.
  • The U.S. is the sixth largest exporter of rice, supplying rice for world trade and feeding millions around the world.
  • Arkansas’s rice farmers represent a key element in the provision and enhancement of habitat for wetland-dependent wildlife species, such as ducks, geese, swans, cranes, and other animals.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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