Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
April 8, 2020
By Tracy CourageU of A System Division of Agriculture
(577 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
LITTLE ROCK — Strawberry season has arrived and with it a whole new way of purchasing
farm goods. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, farmers are finding ways to deliver their
goods while minimizing contact between customers.
Many roadside farm stands are offering drive-thrus, where customers can purchase fresh
produce without leaving their vehicles. Other stands offer pre-order and delivery
options, and some are packaging the produce in advance to minimize handling.
Barnhill Orchards in Lonoke, for example, shifted its operation from a farm stand
to a drive-through. Customers can either order online and pick up curbside, or they
can order on-site from a menu of produce offerings. With a quick pop of the trunk,
produce is loaded into buyers’ vehicles.
On March 26, the state Secretary of Health issued a directive prohibiting gatherings
of more than 10 people in any confined indoor or outdoor space. Outdoor food markets
are exempt because they are considered critical in ensuring Arkansans have access
to healthy food options. At this time, farmers’ markets can sell food products and
limited personal hygiene items like soap and handmade masks, but other crafts or goods
are not to be sold. Cooking demonstrations, crafts, entertainment — and other activities
that draw crowds — have been put on hold.
While many Arkansans are willing to wait a little longer in line for a flat of fresh
strawberries, a few buyers have worried about food safety.
“I have had calls from people who want to know if it’s safe to buy locally grown food
or fresh-picked produce - or any produce - that is handpicked,” said White County
Extension Agent Sherri Sanders.
The answer, in short: yes.
“Locally grown produce is a benefit since it doesn’t have to go through so many handlers
to get to the end-user,” Sanders said. “Our farmers already follow strict food safety
requirements, long before COVID.”
Strawberries are one of the more labor-intensive crops because they must be handpicked
“Based on what we know about how the virus is spread, consumers should understand
that it is unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by eating produce that has been
touched by someone,” said Dr. Amanda Philyaw Perez, assistant professor and food systems
and safety specialist.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory
droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19
associated with food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, it is now known that the virus can survive on a surface for two to three
days, and the surface type can affect the time of survival. It is important to follow
good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands after handling food products, and
double efforts to clean and sanitize surfaces that have come into contact with food
All fruits and vegetables should be washed with cool water. Additionally, cooking
produce eliminates the need for worry as well, though half of fresh strawberries and
blackberries are eaten raw.
Some guidelines for when you visit farmers markets and roadside stands:
To learn more about produce safety, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service
agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. For COVID-19 resources, visit uaex.uada.edu/COVID19. For local food resources, visit uaex.uada.edu/localfoods.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media contact:Tracy CourageDirector, Communications ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com