Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA)

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA) is an amalgam of various agriculture-related state agencies established as a central office for “creating, publicizing, and sustaining an information network for Arkansas farmers and ranchers,” as well as promoting state agricultural products to the nation and world. Despite being a major agricultural state, Arkansas was one of two states without an agricultural department prior to 2005; the other was Rhode Island.

The ADA was created as the Arkansas Agriculture Department by Act 1978 of 2005, which brought together the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, and the Arkansas State Plant Board—all long-standing agencies that had been operating for decades by that time. The Livestock and Poultry Commission was created by Act 87 of 1963. It is responsible for “the control, suppression, and eradication of livestock and poultry diseases and pests, and supervision of livestock and poultry sanitation work.” The plant board, created by Act 414 of 1917, administers programs designed to curb plant insects and diseases, in addition to registering apiaries and licensing pest control operators. The forestry commission was established by Act 234 of 1931, as amended by Act 48 of 1939 and charged with fire control, forest management, and education regarding the state’s various forests. Act 533 of 2007 transferred aquaculture-related business enterprises and operations from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority to the department.

Act 873 of 2007 established the Arkansas Alternative Fuels Development Program within the department, allowing the department to provide incentive grants for those growing biofuel-related products. The department also developed “Arkansas Grown,” a program to promote locally grown agricultural products through an online listing of local producers and farmers’ markets. In addition, the agency distributes a variety of federal block grants for such initiatives as developing specialty crops.

Act 910 of 2019 changed the name of the Arkansas Agriculture Department to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, retaining the agencies and boards beneath it, as well as the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) and the Arkansas Agriculture Board.

For additional information:
Arkansas Department of Agriculture. https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/(accessed November 11, 2019).

Arkansas Grown. http://www.arkansasgrown.org (accessed November 11, 2019).

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 11/11/2019