UACES Facebook Effects of pandemic show in latest Arkansas Agriculture Profile
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Effects of pandemic show in latest Arkansas Agriculture Profile

Find the latest ag stats for Arkansas in this quick-reference publication.

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Aug. 31, 2022

Fast facts

  • Arkansas Agriculture Profile available online
  • Report shows effects in livestock, forestry sectors

(390 words)

(Newsrooms: with cover artPopp and English)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The 2022 edition of the Arkansas Agriculture Profile shows some of the varied effects of the COVID pandemic on the state’s ag sector.

The report is authored by Jennie Popp, interim associate dean of the University of Arkansas’ Honors College and Leah English, who works in the department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. The two put the publication together for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Cover of the 2022 edition of the Arkansas Agriculture Profile. (U of A System Division of Agriculture image)

Agriculture, including forestry, is the largest economic driver in the state, contributing $19 billion in value-added to Arkansas’ economy. The state remained the nation’s largest producer of rice and ranked third in broilers, cotton, and cotton seed. Arkansas is No. 4 in food-size catfish and No. 5 in turkeys.

Pandemic effects

“The overall direct contributions showed little change,” Popp said. “However, when looking at individual sectors, there were some shifts. Losses in livestock production were caused by reduced processing capacity nationwide.”

English said that “although livestock processors experienced some initial difficulty in maintaining their labor force and transitioning to meet lower restaurant and higher grocery demand by the end of 2020, the situation appears to have stabilized.

“Livestock processors in the state saw an overall increase in employment of 0.2 percent, labor income rose 8.1 percent and value-added rose 15.5 percent,” she said.

Popp said crops except for corn — due to reduced ethanol — remained steady and losses in forestry production were offset by Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“As seen in many industries nationwide, induced contributions decreased across the ag and forestry sectors,” Popp said. Induced contributions reflect the spending of employee and proprietor wages, “which fell in 2020 as pandemic-related fear and uncertainty led to lower spending and increased personal savings.”

By the numbers

The profile includes information on a wide variety of topics including the number of farms statewide, as well as the percentage of the state’s land that is made up of farms.

The top five commodities produced in Arkansas in 2021 were:

  • Broilers, valued at $3.97 billion
  • Soybeans, valued at $1.94 billion
  • Rice, valued at $1.25 billion
  • Corn, valued at $824 million
  • Chicken eggs, valued at $692 million.

Arkansas ranked 15th in agricultural exports with a value of $3.6 billion. Soybeans generated the highest export value for the state, with $977 million in 2020. Rice was next at $742 million.

See more in the Arkansas Agriculture Profile.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

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.

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Media contact: Mary Hightower,