UA System Division of Agriculture

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One of the state's biggest crops could help some Arkansas farmers stay afloat during the economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

Arkansas is the nation's leading rice producer and that may benefit the state in the coming months, says to Dr. Tim Burcham, Director of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

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Despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, long stretches of wet weather are proving to be more of an issue for farmers, but the virus is having an impact.

Jarrod Hardke, rice extension agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, says typically, this would be the beginning of the planting season for rice. However, the excess rain has complicated things.

"The overabundance of rainfall throughout the winter and early spring has the majority of our ground still unprepared for planting at this point," Hardke said.

Create Bridges

A new pilot program from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is seeking the input and information from employees in certain sectors.

Create Bridges is a project studying rural economic development, in particular the retail, tourism, accommodations and entertainment industry.

Sarah Kellogg / KUAR News

Farmers in the Jefferson County area had the opportunity to hear advice and predictions on the 2020 planting season during a crop production meeting held by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.  

Beginning in early January, the Division of Agriculture has held production meetings at its county extensions across the state. This particular meeting, held Wednesday in Pine Bluff is the 16th so far, with twelve more to go this February. It focused on corn, soybeans and rice as well as presentations on weeds and insects. 

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A multimillion dollar grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will enable the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and its partnering universities to conduct research on water efficiency in the poultry industry as well as other topics.