Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas Food Bank Logo
arkansasfoodbank.org

The Arkansas Food Bank is reporting that it distributed a record amount of food in 2013. The Food Bank’s warehouse tallied 20,915,960 pounds of food last year, about 4.5 millions pounds above 2012’s amount. Spokesman Tyler Lindsey said a group effort by all the Food Bank’s staff members led to a successful year in distributing products.

The Delta Regional Authority is making a $150,000 investment in a sustainable agriculture program in eastern Arkansas.

The group is planning a Wednesday event in Forrest City to mark the start of the funding.

Officials say the money will help East Arkansas Enterprise Community Inc. to work with Arkansas Delta Seeds of Change to assist 100 farmers in the region. The program will assist farmers and entrepreneurs through job training, financial planning, access to equipment and product marketing.

A committee tasked with reviewing the public notification process for concentrated animal feeding permit applications in the state, will have its first meeting this week. 

Public notice is given when a general permit is issued, and anyone can apply for CAFO coverage under that permit, as long as the applicant’s nutrient management plan is published on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality website for a minimum of 30 days.

Ryan Benefield, deputy director of the ADEQ says this process is being reviewed by a committee formed during this year’s legislative session.

The harvest of summer crops and the planting of winter wheat, especially in south Arkansas, has been slowed by recent rains that dumped up to 3 inches in some areas.

Chicot County Extension Staff Chairman Gus Wilson says the delays are the most since 2009 and he's just hoping that the wheat won't have to be replanted. In Prairie County, Extension Staff Chair Brent Griffin says about 25 percent of the bean crop is still in the field.

Arkansas Based Poultry Plant Opens Second Location

Nov 3, 2013

Chicken provider, Pilgrim’s Pride has closed its plant in Batesville, but Ozark Mountain Poultry is opening a second location in the vacant plant Monday, November 11th.

The Rogers based company is expanding its production capacity, creating 250 new jobs and doubling the amount of poultry it provides to the restaurant industry.

Currently it provides about 1.5 million pounds of poultry to places like Sam’s Club and Jason’s Deli each week. Ed Fryar, Ozark’s CEO, says he is happy to keep production in-state.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
minnesota.publicradio.org / Minnesota Public Radio

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging passage of the nation's farm bill. Vilsack spoke in Little Rock yesterday as politicians in Washington were set to begin negotiations on the five-year, roughly $500 billion bill.

The farm bill sets policy for farm subsidies, rural development projects and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, better known as food stamps. The fight over renewing the farm bill has centered on cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamps program.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
minnesota.publicradio.org / Minnesota Public Radio

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is traveling to Arkansas this week amid questions about the nation's farm policies.

Vilsack is scheduled to visit Little Rock on Wednesday to talk about the need for Congress to pass the nation's farm bill.

The farm bill sets policy for farm subsidies, food stamps and other rural development projects. The fight over renewing the farm bill has centered on cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program.

Members of the House and Senate are set to begin negotiations on the five-year, roughly $500 billion bill this week.

sorghum
uark.edu

Federal agriculture officials say Arkansas' corn harvest is complete while harvesting of sorghum and rice is almost done.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service says 98 percent of the sorghum harvest is complete, along with 92 percent of the rice harvest.

According to the statistics service, 100 percent of cotton bolls have opened and 54 percent are harvested. The Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas says the cotton crop is a full week behind the typical pace.

Soybeans are 60 percent harvested.

Leading candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor's races in Arkansas are scheduled to speak at a conference in Memphis.

Two-term incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, and the Republican opponent for his Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, will speak Friday at the Delta Grassroots Caucus at the Agricenter in east Memphis.

Also scheduled to speak are former Congressmen Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson, who are competing to replace Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.

As the federal government shutdown continues, farmers in the state are increasingly concerned that gridlock in Washington, D.C. could negatively impact Arkansas products. 

Growers and producers in the state are currently partnering with federal researchers on a variety of agricultural studies. 

Travis Justice is a senior economist with the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. He says farmers in state also rely heavily on data from the USDA, information that has not been updated since the shutdown. 

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