Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas Sec. of Agriculture Butch Calhoun / Arkansas Agriculture Department

Arkansas farmers are working to salvage the current growing season, but losses in some areas are expected to be huge.

"I've seen estimates as high as over $200 million just on soybeans," said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun.  Corn and rice were also hard hit when 10 inches of rain fell in east Arkansas on June 29.  Repeated rainfall since has further complicated recovery efforts.

Calhoun says many growers are replanting, but that it's risky at this point.

Heavy weekend rains left many farmers in east Arkansas with flooded fields, and the water is so deep in places the ground won't dry out soon enough for them to replant.

A little more than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of the eastern half of the state, where farmers were still assessing damage Monday.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings along the Cache River near Patterson, the White River near Augusta and on the L'Anguille River at Palestine.

Arkansas soybean growers are facing a challenge from a pest that's new to the state -- the pea weevil.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said Wednesday that the weevil appears to have come from Europe and found its way to Phillips County in eastern Arkansas.

The pest has been found so far only in several fields near Marvell - but it has also surfaced in Louisiana and Washington state.

UA system entomologist Gus Lorenz says immature weevils feed on soybean roots and mature pea weevils eat the leaves.

Federal officials plan to tour several projects in eastern Arkansas that are reducing water and nutrient pollution in the Mississippi Delta.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will join state and local leaders on a series of tours Tuesday. The officials will visit farms in Stuttgart and also stop by the 5 Oaks Duck Lodge and Hollowell Reservoir at Bayou Meto.

At each stop, farmers and experts will discuss strategies to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that reach waterways and the Mississippi Delta.

After enduring a battering of torrential rains over the weekend, Arkansans may now have to bundle up as a cold front moves through the state bringing the likelihood of freezing weather Monday night. The state rarely feels temperatures drop below freezing in mid-April, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Tabitha Clark, who says a cold front moving in from Canada is causing the mercury in the thermometer to drop.

Up and down temperatures across Arkansas may affect Arkansas fruit trees and a wet spring could delay planting of row crops in the state.

Benton County extension agent Neal Mays says northwest Arkansas went through "brutal" temperatures recently with several nights of temperatures at or below zero. Mays says it will soon be known just how much damage was done to fruit crops and said he expects at least some fruit buds were killed.

Leaders from Arkansas’s business, agriculture and faith communities are responding to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal for an incremental approach to immigration reform with renewed calls to pass some meaningful legislation. Representatives from the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau spoke in a conference call with reporters

Boozman: Farm Bill Efforts Moving Forward

Jan 8, 2014

Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says efforts are underway to finalize provisions in the federal farm bill. A group of congressmen and senators are expected to meet Thursday to approve additional changes to the conference report.

“As you start putting ideas in the form of legal language, it takes time. Those ideas then have to be scored by the Office of Management and Budget. Hopefully we will get this thing wrapped up soon,” said Boozman.

Arkansas Farmers Meet To Discuss Planting Season

Jan 6, 2014

Some corn and sorghum producers in Arkansas are deeply concerned about how changing weather patterns could impact crop yields.

On Tuesday and Thursday, farmers are expected to meet with other agricultural officials in Jonesboro and Dumas to review water regulations, discuss crop insurance, and get an early assessment of how growers can market their goods in 2014.

Jason Kelley is an extension wheat and feed grains specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Arkansas Food Bank Logo

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.