Arkansas Agriculture Edition 44 : Page 8

“It’s hard to overestimate the critical role that the Division of Agriculture plays in the state’s landscape. Our members use the research, participate in the education programs and have been through the LeadAR program. Adequate funding is such a growing challenge,” said ArFB Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Stanley Hill. There hasn’t been an increase in more than a decade. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has a presence in all 75 counties, providing valuable research and education services. It often doesn’t get a share in the increases allotted to other higher education institutions, and it doesn’t charge tuition so that source of funding is unavailable to it. Additional funding is needed to retain employees in a competitive research environment and maintain services to Arkansas citizens. Retention of Present Structure of Commodity Research and Promotion Programs Since their creation, the commodity research and promotion programs are an example of the ultimate in public-private partnerships. Funded by farmers and agriculture businesses that pay the assessments, these check-offs support research that aids farm efficiency and environmental stewardship. Check-off dollars also support promotion projects and help increase consumption of participating commodities. The soybean, rice, catfish, beef, corn, grain sorghum and wheat research and promotion boards are made up of farmers and industry individuals selected by their respective organizations including Arkansas Farm Bureau. Those boards are committed to the wise use of check-off funds and the best interests of Arkansas agriculture. “The check-offs have had so much positive impact in providing research funding. The collective promotion of commodities creates a bigger voice,” said Jeff Pitchford, director of state affairs for ArFB. “It’s an empowering thing to see farmers and ranchers make decisions about research and promotion.” Seed Standardization Law The state has long precluded the local regulation of fertilizer, agriculture pesticides Protection of livestock farming and ranching practices is critically important as radical animal welfare groups work with an end goal of completely eliminating animals as a food source for people. 8 8 Arkansas Agriculture | ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU • WINTER 2017

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