Agriculture has long been the backbone of our state’s economy.
Currently, the industry contributes more than $19 billion annually to our economy.
The ripple effect of agriculture reaches far beyond the farm. It stimulates rural economies and supports local businesses. The industry supports more than 240,000 jobs statewide.
Every legislative session, the General Assembly introduces several bills aimed at addressing the needs of our farmers and surrounding communities.
The 2023 Regular Session was no exception. The following acts were signed into law this year:
Act 243 creates a fact-based agricultural education program for elementary school students in Arkansas. Starting in the 2025-2026 school year, the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education will collaborate with industry stakeholders to establish a pilot program to introduce young students to the principles and practices of agriculture.
Act 706 creates the Agri Scholarship Program Fund to be used by the Department of Agriculture to create and maintain the Agri Scholarship Program. The act expands the uses of funds in the Veterinary Examiners Board Fund to include requiring the department to fund the Agri Scholarship Program and the Rural Veterinary Student Scholarship Program.
Act 746 creates the Rural Economic Development Initiative.
Act 161 authorizes a collaborative practice agreement between a veterinarian and a veterinary technician specialist and sets up procedures for the collaborative practice agreement.
Act 591 exempts from the licensure requirements for a pharmacist and a pharmacy the sale or shipping of antibiotics and microbials for veterinary medical use directly from a wholesaler, distributor, pharmacy, or farm store to a client if based on a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.
Act 367places the burden of proof on a party bringing an action against an agricultural operation as a public or private nuisance.
Act 636 prohibits certain foreign parties from acquiring any interest in Arkansas agricultural land, provides penalties for violations, creates the Office of Agricultural Intelligence for information analysis and enforcement.
Act 824 transfers the authority to manage liquid animal waste systems from the Department of Energy and Environment to the Department of Agriculture.
Act 530 amends the Arkansas Soil Nutrient Application and Poultry Litter Utilization Act to provide that nutrient management plans and poultry litter management plans are not public records.
You can learn more about our state’s agriculture industry by visiting agriculture.arkansas.gov.