Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas Experts Seek Quick End To China Chicken Ban

Aug 1, 2013

Poultry experts hope China will quickly lift restrictions put in place after nine Arkansas chickens were exposed to a strain of avian flu.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture told Arkansas' congressional delegation that China had stopped importing Arkansas chicken parts. Nine birds in Scott County were exposed to a non-pathogenic strain of avian flu during floods in June.

Arkansas Researchers Develop New Non-GMO Soybeans

Jul 29, 2013

Arkansas Scientists have developed two new soybean varieties that offer high yields.

Dr. Pengyin Chen, director of the Division of Agriculture's soybean breeding program, says the new soybeans are not genetically modified and can be timed for harvest after farmers have completed harvesting their rice crop.

“[The soybeans] are bred by using conventional classical breeding techniques, know as crossbreeding,” said Chen. “Basically, you cross two non-GMO, or conventional, soybean lines or varieties to develop new lines.”  

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.

At Least 2 Cows Die Due To Blackleg Disease

Jul 19, 2013

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.

Pryor And Boozman Discuss Farm Bill’s Future

Jul 17, 2013

Disagreements over provisions in the federal Farm Bill could negatively impact the agricultural sector in Arkansas, according to U.S. Senator Mark Pryor.

Throughout the summer, Pryor says he has heard the concerns of constituents who worry that partisan gridlock will continue to hamper passage of the bill.

Arkansas Crop Yields: Highest And Lowest On Record

Jul 16, 2013
National Cotton Council

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.

Arkansas Cotton Acreage At Longtime Low

Jul 16, 2013

Cotton acreage is down sharply this year in Arkansas.

Agriculture officials estimate that 320,000 acres of cotton have been planted in Arkansas this year. That's only about half as much cotton as growers planted in 2012.

Jonesboro television station KAIT reports that farmers pulled back on cotton because of thin profit margins.

Producers risk losing money if the weather takes a bad turn or if pests are abundant. Also, the crop is threatened by herbicide-resistant pigweed, which can choke out cotton plants.

Arkansas Congressmen Back Scaled-Down Farm Bill

Jul 12, 2013

Arkansas's four Republican congressmen have voted for a scaled-down farm bill that doesn't address funding for food stamps.

Arkansas Farmers Seeking Bounty Now Poised For Drought

Jul 12, 2013

Arkansas hay farmers once hopeful for three cuttings during 2013 are now worried about a developing drought.

Forecasters said Thursday that drought conditions are developing in portions of Arkansas.

For a time in the spring, conditions were such that some farmers believed they could make hay around Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

University of Arkansas forage specialist John Jennings said Arkansas' weather pattern needs to change so broader areas of the state see rain.

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.