Challenges facing the agriculture industry will be the topic of discussion at a farm policy summit in Little Rock this week.
Farmers, national policy leaders and the state's congressional delegation are set to attend the 3-day summit hosted by the Arkansas Farm Bureau.
Speakers include Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau, who said farmers and ranchers are facing some of the biggest challenges they have seen in years.
"Farmers and ranchers are used to the regular challenges that come in and out that deal with weather. But right now we are in very depressed commodity markets and all the prices for our commodities are lower than they were and falling consistently," said Duvall. "Farm income is down considerably and we are projecting some more decreases this year."
Duvall said farmers are also tackling the possibility of new federal regulations, like rules governing how products are labeled, that he thinks could be costly to implement.
However, he said opening trade with Cuba could have a positive impact on Arkansas farmers since two of the state's main commodities, chicken and rice, are in high demand in that country. Cuba imports roughly 80 percent of its food.
Duvall said this will be a crucial year for farmers. Agriculture is Arkansas' largest industry.