Arkansas Agriculture

Jayme Frye / flickr.com

With the growing season still weeks away, chicken waste that will be used as fertilizer is piling up in barns across the South and causing worries about spontaneous combustion.

A chicken litter pile this week triggered a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home before being brought under control. Agriculture officials say the right mix of moisture, texture and decomposition is needed to produce a burning pile of waste, and that farmers should be mindful of how high they stack manure in their barns.

Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he stressed the importance of a global market to Arkansas' economy when he talked with President-elect Donald Trump to congratulate him on his surprise win in the election.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The death of Fidel Castro represents a “moment that I believe needs to be seized,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Hutchinson said the death Friday of Cuba’s longtime leader is a “momentous occasion … that gives us an opportunity we’ve never had before.” That includes an opportunity to sell Arkansas’ agricultural products, and an opportunity for the Cuban people to experience more freedom, leading to better relationships between the United States and Cuba.

“That’s the moment that I believe needs to be seized,” he said.

Inside C & H Hog Farms near Mount Judea
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says that drilling has been completed at the site of a hog farm located near the Buffalo National River. It was part of a study meant to conclude whether waste from the farm is spreading pollutants in the ground.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials say they are making progress in controlling feral hogs, which do an estimated $19 million  damage annually to row crops in the state. Officials told a legislative subcommittee Thursday that the state game officers' practice of increasing trapping since 2014 has led to a 250 percent increase in the number of recorded feral pigs being captured and killed.

Game and Fish Director Jeff Crow said controlling the population of feral pigs has important ramifications.

Heavy rains during the last two weeks could significantly impact the row crop harvest in northeast Arkansas, experts say. At least 14 inches of rain fell in parts of the region, and many rivers have swelled outside their banks and numerous fields are flooded, according to the National Weather Service.

Governor's Radio Column: Farmers' Markets

Aug 13, 2016
Gov. Hutchinson outdoors
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Aug. 12, 2016:

Arkansas has a rich tradition of family farming. Out of the 45,000 farms in Arkansas, ninety-seven percent are family-owned. We lead the nation in rice production and are among the top ten states in the production of poultry, catfish, sweet potatoes and lumber.

The agricultural industry adds nearly $20 billion to our state’s economy each year, all the while sustaining a long tradition of homegrown production.

Soybean Prices Higher Than Expected, Rice Projected To Be Down, Corn Remains Stagnant

Aug 3, 2016

Farmers throughout Arkansas and especially in the Mississippi Delta Region are keeping close tabs on soybean and rice prices as the calendar inches toward the harvest.

tomato disease
Rutgers University

Heavy spring rains in Arkansas have resulted in a fungal disease that destroys tomato plants.

Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service pest management specialist Jackie Lee says late blight has been found in 14 counties in central Arkansas. She says about three plants are typically seen each year with the disease, but that 20 infected plants have been diagnosed this year.

Lee said the disease starts at the bottom of the plant and works its way up, rapidly killing the plant. The first sign is a brownish gray tissue on the leaves.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a $94,000 grant to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to help low-income Arkansans buy fruits and vegetables.

The grant is for the program Double Up Food Bucks that's part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - formerly known as Food Stamps.

The program allows families to double the amount of SNAP money spent for fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. As an example, a family spending $10 on fruits and vegetables at a participating market would be able to spend $20.

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