Arkansas Agriculture

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A maligned but crucial row crop herbicide that’s led to disputes among neighbors and at least one class action lawsuit could be on its way toward becoming banned in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Plant Board Pesticide Committee voted Friday to recommend a ban on the sale and use of dicamba for the state’s row crops. Farmers spray dicamba on a specific genetically resistant soybean variety, produced by Monsanto. Misuse and wind drift in recent months has led to the herbicide impacting fields and damaging non-genetically resistant agricultural crops in the eastern part of the state.

On this Week-In-Review, we put Arkansas's congressional delegation in the spotlight as Trump ignores the state's agricultural interests on his newly announced Cuba policies. Also, Sen. Tom Cotton dismisses Russia collusion and  Sen. Boozman is short on healthcare specifics.

-Elections were held throughout Arkansas this week: Pulaski County votes to send more money to schools; Pine Bluff takes a stab at revitalization; and Helena-West Helena makes an effort to pare down its sprawling city council.

GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump.
Charlie Neibergall/ AP

The interests of Arkansas’s agricultural leaders went unheralded by President Trump on Friday as he announced a move back toward Cold War relations with our Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. Much of the state’s Congressional delegation has also chimed in on the prospect of tougher relations as a move in the wrong direction.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau wants a “normalization” of trade relations with the communist nation and promises it’ll be an economic boon for the state. Arkansas is the largest cultivator of rice in the nation and not far behind that in poultry production.

The Trump administration announced Monday it has reached agreement with China on final details of a protocol to allow U.S. companies to ship beef exports to China, a move Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the state’s two U.S. senators say will benefit Arkansas and American beef markets.

David Monteith / KUAR

Wal-Mart unveiled new signs at its stores promoting its “Arkansas Grown” program Monday.

Company officials say the marketing strategy is part of the Arkansas-based retailer’s commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion worth of products assembled, made, or grown in the U.S. by 2023.

Michael Hensley, a tomato farmer from Bradley county, Arkansas, said his farm’s 15-year relationship with Wal-Mart has given him peace of mind.

Episode 775: The Pigweed Killer

Jun 2, 2017

The border of Arkansas and Missouri is a land of open skies and long stretches of farmland. It's also the scene for a fight against a weed – specifically the pigweed, which will overwhelm a crop in a season.

Flooding
Twitter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disaster areas after recent flooding.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says in a news release Friday he was informed of the designation from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Counties designated as disasters include Faulkner, Lonoke and Randolph.

Perdue visited the state in early May and said in his letter to the governor that there were sufficient production losses in those counties to warrant a designation.

Another 23 counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.

Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Agriculture Could Have Dramatic Impact On Arkansas

May 24, 2017
rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget includes deep cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture, and Arkansas farmers could feel the squeeze.

Trump’s budget would cut USDA discretionary spending by $4.7 billion to $17.9 billion in 2018, a 21% drop from this year, according to figures released. Farm crop insurance, research, international food aid programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, and others could be slashed if his budget is approved.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Officials say the estimated impact of agricultural flood damage in Arkansas due to recent severe weather is about $175 million.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture says the April flooding affected more than 970,000 acres of farmland. University officials say more than 360,000 acres of crops were lost due to floodwater from storms that swept through the state last month. About 50 percent of that crop loss was rice.

A preliminary estimate had put the damage at about $65 million. The updated estimate includes sorghum and wheat crops.

emerald ash borer
Forest Service, USDA

An invasive beetle known for destroying ash trees has been discovered in three more Arkansas counties.

The Arkansas State Plant Board said Tuesday that the emerald ash borer has been discovered in Garland, Montgomery, and Pike counties in southwest Arkansas. The beetle has now been confirmed in 17 Arkansas counties and the board has established a quarantine in those counties and 16 counties adjacent to them that prohibits the movement of ash items including nursery stock and firewood in hopes of preventing the spread of the beetle.

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