The University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Arkansas Center for Forest Business, a new addition to the Arkansas Forest Resources Center and the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The center was created to work on market-based solutions to forest resource issues and enhance the economic competitiveness of Arkansas’ forestry sector in a global economy. Arkansas Farm Bureau was a strong supporter of the Center’s creation, so we attended the event and spoke to Professor Matthew Pelkki and Dean Michael Blazier of the College of Forestry, Agriculture & Natural Resources, about the big day and what’s ahead.
Les Miller is a firefighter with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division and was crew boss of the 20-member "Razorback" team that just returned from Oregon where they assisted in fighting one of the many wildfires there. Miller says the fire they experienced was unlike anything he has ever seen, and that he and his crew members train to be ready when the call comes to help protect lives, homes and property in other states.
Arkansas timber production in March and April declined 480,000 tons, down 15% from a year ago. Family-owned logging and log trucking businesses are suffering from a reduction in wood fiber being sourced from our forests and industry organizations are seek assistance from Congress. We spoke to John McMinn, forestry division coordinator for Arkansas Farm Bureau, about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this vital sector of Arkansas agriculture and our state's economy.
An Easter Sunday storm generated hurricane-force winds and leveled timber across numerous east Arkansas counties. Especially hard hit was Lincoln County, where hardwood stands still lie on the ground as logging crews are unable to reach and salvage the timber. For many private landowners, this is a multi-million dollar disaster.
The award-winning tree farm at the University of Arkansas Livestock & Forestry Research Center near Batesville provides research and education programs important to state landowners. Station Forester Mike McGowan shared some highlights with us and walked us through the process of oak tree regeneration.
We talk to Hermitage High School Ag Instructor Joe Don Greenwood, who is also the coach of the school's winning forestry team. He discussed his four decades in agriculture education and introduced us to members of this year's forestry team.
After experiencing a six-year period of economic expansion, the Arkansas timber and wood products industry is slowing down, signaled by the closing of two mills in south Arkansas. We spoke to some industry experts about the impact of the closings on Ashley and Union County communties and their thoughts on the severity and length of the slowdown.
On this week’s edition, we have some interesting and in-depth interviews about critical issues in Arkansas agriculture, including news from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's agriculture program, the latest on efforts to combat feral hogs and a conversation with Arkansas’s 4th District Congressman Bruce Westerman.
USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue was in Arkansas Sept. 4 to participate in a "Town Hall" meeting with agriculture industry leaders and join Gov. Asa Hutchinson for the signing of a Shared Stewardship Agreement dealing with forest practices.