Officials with hunger relief organizations in Arkansas and across the country have expressed concerns about recent efforts to remove food stamp provisions from federal Farm Bill legislation.
Though the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate passed a bill that included funding for nutrition assistance, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that eliminated monetary support for the food stamp program.
A drought-related disease known as blackleg is blamed for the deaths of at least two cows in Arkansas.
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture officials say the disease has caused the deaths of cows in Lonoke and Sebastian counties.
Agricultural officials say the bacterial disease typically appears during drought because the dry conditions reduce forage for cattle - and the animals then graze close to the ground and ingest small soil particles that contain the bacteria.
Arkansas crop yields are all over the map this year, with cotton harvests at an all time low and wheat registering as the second highest on record.
Brent Griffin, a county extension agent for Prairie County, says wheat is a world wide commodity and is affected by what goes on in the overseas market. He says local factors attributed to the high yield of 59 bushels this year.
A normally very large crop for the state, only 320,000 acres of cotton were planted this year, only half of what was planted in 2012.
Poultry owners in Arkansas are taking steps to safeguard flocks from a mild strain of bird flu.
Last week, state health officials reported that a low-pathogenic strain of avian influenza was found on a poultry farm in Scott County.
Though experts with the state’s Livestock and Poultry Commission say the outbreak was isolated to one farm, Dustan Clark, a veterinarian with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, says farmers must take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of diseases.