Arkansas Agriculture

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Business growth in Arkansas lost a step in April as a leading economic indicator for the region shows the state’s manufacturing, farming and energy sectors continue to shed jobs and affect overall economic expansion.

Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is discontinuing its practice of issuing permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, also known as CAFOs. 

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A national group of business leaders and others working to open trade with Cuba launched a state council in Little Rock Monday.

James Williams, President of the umbrella group, Engage Cuba, said Arkansas lawmakers are leading the effort to lift the 55 year-old trade embargo against the country. 

Cuba is the number one rice consumer in the Western Hemisphere, he said, adding he believes it is "ridiculous" the country cannot purchase U.S. products on credit.

"We're 90 miles away and they're buying their rice in Vietnam. We're all outraged by that fact.”

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Arkansas agriculture experts say it could be early next week before farmers in many areas of the state are able to return to their fields to plant row crops.

Darci Vetter U.S. Trade Representative
Arkansas Farm Bureau web stream

Darci Vetter, one of the Obama administration’s key negotiators for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, is making her case in Arkansas for the necessity of getting congressional approval of the controversial trade pact by the end of 2016.

Vetter, chief Agriculture Negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, outlined pros and cons of the 12-nation trade deal and why she believed it is important.

David Monteith / KUAR

Representatives of Arkansas’s agricultural community and political leaders will be discussing state and national policies impacting farmers at the Farm Policy Summit in Little Rock this week. Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, says policies which have increased costs to farmers are among the topics to be covered.

http://www.arfb.com

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.

A deer in the woods.
nps.gov / National Park Service

A third case of chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in Arkansas.

The state Game and Fish Commission said Tuesday that a white-tailed deer found at Camp Orr recently tested positive for the fatal disease.

Earlier this month, another deer found dead in Ponca tested positive for the disease. The first case was discovered in a 2 1/2-year-old elk that was killed near Pruitt during the October hunting season.

The disease affects animals such as elk, deer and moose. It's unclear how it reached northern Arkansas.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and partners across the nation will direct up to $720 million towards 84 conservation projects around the country, including three projects in Arkansas.

According to a media release, the projects will help communities improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability and are part of the second round of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program created by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Arkansas projects include:

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Republican presidential field may not like President Obama’s announcement  he will travel to Cuba next month but U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas welcomes the step. The Republican told KUAR he supports the president’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

“I’m very supportive of him going," said Boozman. "We haven’t gotten any place doing what we’ve done. I’m very much in favor of making it such that we have a relationship with Cuba, trading with Cuba. When you trade you’re not only trading goods and services but you’re trading ideas and values."

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