Arkansas Business City of Distinction 2011

Arkansas AgBusiness takes a deeper look at some of the sectors that make Arkansas' agriculture industry such a dominant force. In doing so, we also celebrate some of the unique business leaders who are making their mark locally and nationally.

Featured Inside

Government Not the First Rodeo for Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward

Wes Ward hails from Lake City, and he has degrees in agriculture and agriculture and food law. He served on U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford's staff. read more >

California Poultry Law Causes Interstate Push And Pull

To a contract poultry grower in Arkansas or a pork grower in Iowa, cage sizes and living conditions may seem normal and acceptable for animals raised only for their protein, but European regulators or animal rights activists may have a different view. read more >

Producers Finding A Plus In Commodities Pricing

As the cattle industry suffered through drought effects that prompted huge selloffs and resulted in soaring consumer prices, those raising the nation's chickens stepped in to fill the void with lower-cost protein. read more >

FFA Officer Victoria Maloch Sets Precedent While Following Traditional Path

Magnolia native Victoria Maloch has been chosen to serve on the Future Farmers of America national leadership team. She is the first female from Arkansas to serve as a national FFA officer. read more >

American Dream For Farmers Needing Dose Of Investment (Rick Fahr Commentary)

Striking out on your own was difficult back in the day, and it's nigh on impossible now for many people who would want to try. The cost of equipment is the principal hurdle. Outfitting even a small farm can easily run seven figures, and not many people have the ability to stroll into a bank and walk out with that kind of money. read more >

Arkansas Weather Data: Five-Year Rainfall Amounts

A look at historic rainfall amounts supports the idea that keeping harvests in September and October generally reduces the chance of weather impacting a crop. read more >

Seed Science Blossoms Into Big Business

In today's world of specific-trait, genetically modified and hybrid crops, those seeds are worth their weight (at least) in gold, and in the span of a generation, seed costs have increased exponentially, but in many cases the resulting crops offset that input cost. read more >

Rains Slow State's Timber Operations, But No Shortages Predicted

Just as a wet spring can keep farmers out of their fields, standing water and mud can grind timber operations to a halt. Across the southern half of the state this spring, timber-cutting equipment has remained idle as poor weather has resulted in tightening mill stocks. read more >

Rice Quality Concerns Create Hurdles For Industry

Jim Mead, owner of Delta Grains, a seed and grain brokerage business near Jonesboro, was part of the vanguard in seed technology. In the 1980s, he was an integral part of Eagle Seed Co. in Weiner, a small but innovative company that developed new rice and soybean varieties. Now, he views the seed business from both sides. read more >

ASU-Beebe Partnership Program Provides Technical Training, Promises Employment

Students are learning their craft in a sparkling public-private partnership that began long ago when one of the industry's heavyweights recognized a need for highly trained technicians who speak the language of John Deere Co. read more >

Tech Keeps Mechanics in the Know

Nearly 70 percent of the next generation of ag equipment technicians are learning their trade at places like Arkansas State University-Beebe. read more >

Law To Boost Pilot Programs for Ag Schools

Specialized agriculture education in Arkansas will soon not be solely the purview of higher education. A measure approved in this year's legislative session will create a pilot program for “agriculture schools” in the state. read more >

Collegiate Ag Programs Take Modern Turn

Even a generation ago, most “agriculture” students at colleges and universities studied the business concepts involved in operating a farm. They learned about depreciation and tax incentives. Those who followed expanded into the marketing arena, and those newly minted graduates introduced brokering and data-driven selling to the farm. Biotechnologists burst on the scene, and with them they brought genetically modified varieties of various crops. read more >

Arkansas Farms Fat Targets For Cultivated Crime

As she pulled into one of her soybean fields during last year's harvest, Crystal Lewis could see something from the height of her combine that she hadn't been able to see from pickup level. In the middle of the field, the soybeans were gone. Missing. Vanished. read more >

Getting The Bugs Out Of Hardwood's Comeback

After historically low prices kept loggers from removing hardwoods from Arkansas forests for many years, something of a hardwood rebirth began recently. However, at least one timber expert has predicted that market pressures may reverse that trend soon. A significant threat to the industry, however, is an old one — insect infestation. read more >

Innovations Boost Water Conservation, Financial Savings

To be sure, the state's soil is tailor-made to grow rice, cotton, soybeans, corn and sorghum, but it is producers' ability to irrigate the vast majority of the state's farm acreage that helps guarantee a decent crop in even the worst drought years. When corn and soybean fields are withering in Iowa, Indiana and Missouri, Arkansas' crop thrives as irrigation systems provide a boost when necessary. read more >

Farmers' Use Of Drones Up In The Air

In the ongoing conflict between conventional agriculture and emerging technologies, some innovations are finding favor while others confront hurdles. read more >

Specialty Chicken Roosts In Southwest Arkansas

A poultry company outside Arkadelphia has partnered with several southwest Arkansas counties to hatch, grow and process a “specialty chicken” popular in Asian markets across the western United States. read more >

Row Crop Harvests Yield Record Numbers In Historic Year

The 2014 Arkansas row-crop harvest was a historic one in more ways than one. The state's farmers planted more rice acres than ever, and the rice, corn, cotton and soybean yields were the highest on record. read more >

Crop Prices Create New Lending Landscape

Starting in July, soybean contracts started downward, hovering between $9.60 and $10 per bushel for the rest of the year. Bumper crops certainly depressed prices and uncertainties tied to federal farm bill legislation didn't help either. read more >

More Rice, Fewer Farms

Farmers increasingly look to expand the scope of their operations by purchasing ground, entering into traditional rental agreements with landowners or forging managerial relationships. However the method, the result is that fewer farmers are farming more acres today than a generation ago. read more >

Forecasting The High-Tech Horizon

Over the years, I found myself growing better able to look at the thunderheads as they developed over White, Independence, Cleburne and Prairie counties and predict whether the rain would reach us or pass by. To be sure, beyond the local weather forecast, there wasn't a lot of technology brought to bear in regard to our meteorological concerns. Today's farmers, though, are using technology in a big way, and not just to study the weather. read more >

Global Market Cuts Into Local Cotton

Supply and demand economics have indisputably affected the state's cotton crop in the past decade. read more >

Commodity Markets, Marketing Measures Take Leap Forward

When those in the agriculture industry speak of “marketing”, they aren't referring to computer-generated geckos hawking insurance or bikini-clad models posing with a low-calorie beer. They mean using information, technology and infrastructure to ultimately make their operation as profitable as possible. read more >

Cuba Attitude Shift Holds Promise For Arkansas Rice and Poultry Farmers

Tangible progress under the Obama administration is opening the door for the United States and Cuba to normalize relations. If Congress votes to lift the trade ban, few industrial sectors stand to gain as much as agriculture in general and Arkansas rice and poultry farmers in particular. read more >

Arkansas Department of Agriculture Extends Century Farm Honor to Longtime Farm Families

Families who have owned and farmed their land for at least 100 years are eligible for an honor through the state Agriculture Department. read more >

Ag Council Positions Include Farm Bill Complaints

State and federal legislators, regulators and policymakers need not wonder where the Agricultural Council of Arkansas stands on most any issue. read more >

Exec Q&A: Andrew Grobmyer of the Arkansas Ag Council on Cuba, Farm Bill and Immigration

Andrew Grobmyer, executive vice president of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, recently spent an hour discussing issues facing the state's agriculture industry, from the 2014 Farm Bill to how immigration reform is important to the state's farmers. read more >

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