Community Briefs Feb. 10

Rural Life Conference to be held at UAPB

The 65th Annual Rural Life Conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. March 15 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Complex, 1204 L.A. "Prexy" Davis Drive. The conference opens with registration at 7:30 a.m. The program concludes at 4 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and door prizes will be awarded. The location has been changed from the Pine Bluff Convention Center due to scheduling conflicts, according to a news release.

Conference attendees will be able to attend a wide variety of workshops on agriculture and family and consumer sciences. Topics include aquaponics, which is the combined growing of fish and plants, as well as forestry and beekeeping. A session titled "Plan. Produce. Profit." will educate specialty crop producers on how to operate under the Arkansas Food Freedom Act.

One timely workshop will provide an update on the Farm Bill. Another highlights the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers will also be able to learn about the USDA Farm Service Agency's conservation and loan programs.

Other topics include beef cattle production, small pond management, growing produce with high tunnels, agricultural risk management, the use of drones in agriculture, mushroom and herb production, and the use of the biochar soil additive to increase production.

Several workshops aim to strengthen local individuals, families and communities. Some of these include crafting local food systems that benefit all, emerging trends in rural development, stretching food dollars, maximizing tax returns, creating efficient business structures, and ensuring mental wellness.

During a will-writing clinic, personnel from five law firms will be providing help writing wills and offering legal and technical support.

One workshop highlights a local initiative that helps grandparents and their grandchildren bond through gardening. An open forum for high school students will also be featured.

The workshops will also be available via Zoom. The conference is free to producers, students, veterans, homemakers and retirees. For registration rates for professionals and agency personnel, contact Karen Lee at (870) 575-7225 or [email protected].

Early registration is recommended for accurate breakfast and lunch counts. To preregister, contact Casandra Byrd at (870) 575-8123 or [email protected]. The registration form for the virtual conference is also accessible online. Email [email protected] to have the link to the form sent to you.

Irby announces Legend Among Us event

Wabbaseka native and author Jason Irby announced the ninth annual Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month and Legend Among Us presentation will be held Feb. 17.

This event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center in Little Rock, according to a news release.

This year's Legend Among Us honorees include Billy R. Brooks, Billy Sanders, William "Bill" Woods Jr. and John Henry Anderson. Details: jasonirby.wordpress.com.

AGFC fishing report available

Anglers looking for the latest information on their local lakes and rivers may find what they need on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's website. The AGFC's Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report has been a staple in many newspapers and magazines for decades, helping people connect with their targets. It's also available digitally through the AGFC's website, email newsletters and social media channels, according to a news release.

Jim Harris, managing editor of Arkansas Wildlife Magazine, contacts a host of local bait shops, guides and other sources each week to find out the latest information on hot baits, water temperatures and other conditions anglers may want to know on more than 40 lakes throughout the state.

The report also features the latest news from our Fisheries Division's work on habitat projects, boat ramp renovations and many other improvements anglers can look forward to on their local lake. Best of all, this information is free for the asking.

Visit agfc.com or the AGFC's Facebook page each Thursday for the latest link, or visit the AGFC's newsletter signup page to have it emailed directly to your inbox.

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