Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas officials say they have made their final payment on debt incurred to help fight boll weevils.

The Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation said Tuesday it had paid off the last $2 million it owed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, three years ahead of schedule.

Cuba Governor
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a delegation of nearly 50 Arkansas business leaders and state officials are in Cuba for a series of meetings with government officials.

The communist island nation and its 11 million residents have for years been eyed as an untapped marketplace for Arkansas products, especially agriculture. With diplomatic relations being restored between the U.S. and Cuba, Hutchinson said this was an ideal time to begin building a relationship. The visit is the first by an American governor since the U.S. re-opened its embassy there in July.

Manufacturing and farming giant Caterpillar Inc., which operates a large motor grader plant in North Little Rock with several hundred workers, announced a major across-the-board restructuring and cost reduction Thursday (Sept. 24) that could possibly affect more than 10,000 employees across the company’s expansive U.S. and international operations.

Farmers should expect to see an unusually dense wave of insect and pest populations in crops across the state.

Experts with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture say the influx of the pests is due primarily to widespread flooding in the spring and early summer and late-season planting.

The prevalent pests include stink bugs in rice fields and corn earworms in soybeans, among others.

Boozman agriculture Keo Fish Farm
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is touring Arkansas during the August recess this week to talk about agricultural issues.

The Republican lawmaker on Monday announced he's traveling the state as part of his fifth annual agricultural tour. Boozman is kicking off the tour on Tuesday.

Boozman sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee and recently introduced legislation to give more flexibility to federal child nutrition programs, especially during summer feeding programs.

Flood Waters
KTXK

A report shows that recent floods in a southwest Arkansas county caused more than $14 million in damages.

The county's emergency coordinator says that around half of the land in Little River County was flooded by nearby bodies of water, including the Red River, following severe weather in May and June.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that the report was prepared by county officials and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. The study shows more than 20 county roads were closed due to flooding.

Cotton farmers in Arkansas are expected this year to plant the fewest acres ever in Arkansas' cotton growing history.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension estimates that cotton acreage could fall below 200,000 for the first time.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in March that the cotton acreage would drop by more than 30 percent from last year. The previous low in the state was in 2013 with 310,000 acres.

Division economists say 90 percent of the drop in planting is due to falling U.S. per pound cotton prices.

Rains across Arkansas have put a damper on the 2015 wheat harvest in the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that total production was just more than 19 million bushels - down from almost 25 million bushels in 2014. The yield averaged out at 56 bushels per acre - down from 63 bushels per acre last year.

Agronomist Jason Kelley with University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture says rains in February and March delayed the application of fertilizer and the poor drainage also reduced the yield.

As an additional indicator of improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba, fifty-three Arkansans hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce will begin a week-long visit to Cuba Tuesday. Senior Vice President of the Chamber, Susie Marks says this trip is not focused on forging official business or economic ties, however several members of the group are from key Arkansas industries.

“From the start of our trip there was a lot of interest from the agricultural sector of our state's economy, so there may be an opportunity to open that a little more,” said Marks. 

Seed Foundation Facility Headed To Stuttgart

Apr 29, 2015
rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board announced plans Tuesday to direct $2 million to help construct a seed foundation facility at the state’s Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart.

The facility will assist scientists and researchers to bring new higher yielding, high quality rice varieties to market so Arkansas farmers can profitably grow rice that meets worldwide demand.

The center, along with the new Foundation Seed Facility, is operated by the University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture.

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