Arkansas Agriculture

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.

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.