LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Agriculture Department is kicking off the Christmas holiday season with “Twelve Days of Arkansas Agriculture,” a new campaign with 12 stories that highlight some of the programs and services provided by the AAD that support our state’s agriculture industry.

The campaign theme is loosely based on the popular Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that highlights a series of gifts over 12 days during the Christmas season.

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward said in a news release that “The Arkansas Agriculture Department exists to serve Arkansas agriculture, our state’s largest industry. It’s an honor for us to administer the programs and services that assist and benefit Arkansas producers. Our producers work tirelessly to feed, clothe, and shelter those here at home and across the globe and we take our obligations to them very seriously”.

The First Day of “The Twelve Days of Arkansas Agriculture” campaign features Poison Springs State Forest. Poison Springs State Forest is a 23,506-acre demonstration forest for good forest management practices in western Ouachita and eastern Nevada counties. The AAD’s Forestry Commission manages the Poison Springs State Forest for timber production, recreation, water quality protection, research, and wildlife habitat.

“The AAD is honored to have a Christmas tree from Poison Springs State Forest at its headquarters building this holiday season. This is the first time that the Agriculture Department has had an official Christmas tree,” the news release said.

Poison Springs State Forest received its name from a nearby spring of the same name which is also the site of a significant Civil War battle, The Battle of Poison Springs. Hunting, fishing, camping, and equestrian uses are among the most popular recreational activities enjoyed at Poison Springs at no cost to the public.

More than 100 primitive campsites can be reserved at no charge and public fishing is available at White Oak Lake, an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lake that adjoins the State Forest. Visitors will also find an equestrian trail and firing range.

Showing its strong commitment to sustainable forest management, Poison Springs State Forest has recently earned certification to the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard, according to the news release. This certification is completed through a third-party audit, and provides assurance that Poison Springs State Forest is being managed through the most responsible forest management standards that ensure good water quality, wildlife habitat, overall forest health, and more.