Arkansas Agriculture

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.

Heavy rains throughout northeast Arkansas have delayed the start of the winter wheat harvest and damaged other crops in the state.

State cooperative extension service officials say the weather has delayed the harvest by at least a week. Harvest typically starts at the end of May in southern Arkansas and moves north.

Officials say the rains can reduce overall quality grain quality after the crop matures and lowers the price producers can sell their grain for.

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.”

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