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On Tuesday, Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared March 19-25 “Arkansas Agriculture Week”.
Governor Sanders hosted a roundtable discussion with farmers and agriculture leaders from across Arkansas, including Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, to discuss ways to keep Arkansas’ largest industry strong and dynamic.
“If you can’t feed yourself, fuel yourself, or fight for yourself, your country can’t survive,” said Governor Sanders while thanking the farmers for their work.
The group further discussed issues facing the agriculture industry in the Natural State, including rising input costs, the worker shortage, and upcoming state and federal legislation that will affect Arkansas farmers.
Arkansas is a national leader in agriculture, with 48% of total U.S. Rice production and 58% of the entire U.S. Long Grain rice production coming from Arkansas.
Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, contributing more than $19 billion annually to the state’s economy, according to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
About 243,165 jobs in Arkansas are fueled by the agriculture industry.
The proclamation may be read below:
WHEREAS: Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, contributing more than $19 billion annually to our state’s economy and providing the state with 243,165 jobs or one of every seven jobs. Our diverse agricultural production includes livestock, poultry, aquaculture, row crop, specialty crop, and forestry;
WHEREAS: Arkansas’ 42,000 farms and ranches operate on 14.0 million acres, with agricultural operations occurring in all 75 counties within the state;
WHEREAS: Arkansas is home to 12 billion trees on nearly 19 million acres of forestland, which is more than 55 percent of the state’s entire land mass;
WHEREAS: Arkansas is nationally ranked No. 6 in forestry products, contributing $6.5 billion to the state’s economy;
WHEREAS: Arkansas’ annual timber growth of over 44 million tons with an annual harvest of 24 million tons, leaves an annual surplus of 20 million tons making for attractive investment opportunities for forest-based businesses;
WHEREAS: Arkansas consistently ranks in the top 25 nationally in the production of 16 different agricultural commodities and ranks 15th in the nation with $11.4 billion in gross receipts for all agricultural commodities;
WHEREAS: Arkansas ranks in the top ten nationally in the production of rice, broilers, catfish, cotton lint, cottonseed, turkey, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and chicken eggs;
WHEREAS: Our agricultural producers are creative, resilient, efficient, and hardworking individuals that represent some of the best and brightest in the world who work tirelessly to feed, clothe, and shelter those here at home and across the globe;
WHEREAS: Arkansas farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners play a vital leadership role in our communities and in the preservation and sustainability of our natural resources; and
WHEREAS: Arkansas’ strong agricultural heritage has given us the ability to overcome challenges and work together for the benefit of the industry at the state, national, and international level, and;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, Governor of the State of Arkansas, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the state of Arkansas, do hereby proclaim March 19-25, as
“ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE WEEK”
And urge the citizens of the state to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed the 21st day of March, in the year of our Lord 2023.