Benefits of the Pine Tree Station Land Sale
A more detailed overview the Division of Agriculture’s planned use of proceeds from the sale of a Pine Tree Research Station tract.
How will the Division of Agriculture use the proceeds?
The proposed sale agreement will result in proceeds that will:
- Fund the required endowment match for the new Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center being built south of Jonesboro.
The endowment would provide stable operating funds for the new Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center to benefit rice producers north of I-40 and west of Crowley’s Ridge on lighter mixed soils plus a general education center to educate public about rice, agriculture, and agricultural science ($5 million).
- Provide resources to expand and enhance the Division’s programs in smart farming and precision agriculture.
Long-term fund to assist in the purchase of equipment necessary to conduct research on “smart farming,” including yield harvesters, plot combines with variable rate application capability, sensors, drones, robotics, and blockchain/analytical software. The goal is to develop best practices that enhance sustainability while also being truly profitable for the farms that invest in these technologies. The focus is primarily on crop production, with additional attention on livestock and poultry production, greenhouse production, food manufacturing, and grain and other storage facilities ($6 million).
- Be used for improvements to the Pine Tree Research Station and timber and wetlands management across Division of Agriculture properties statewide.
Improvements will enhance both the efficiency of the research conducted at the Pine Tree Research Station and provide benefits for our agricultural stakeholders. These funds will be used for:
- Equipment storage,
- Irrigation improvements,
- Land leveling, and
- Fencing to protect fields from deer, raccoon, and feral hog damage that destroys the integrity of research studies.
Improvements to irrigation systems will reduce costs, provide for more effective water delivery, and allow for more relevant water management research and education using technologies more similar to those employed by farmers. The land leveling will enable fertility research that mimics the soil conditions that many farms face when fields are leveled for efficiency in field work. While land leveling can improve the efficiency of land preparation and water management, it often reduces soil fertility. Research on how best to restore soil fertility is in high demand. Leveling land will also contribute to efficiency in our own field operations and water management ($1 million).
- An endowment to provide stable recurring funds to enhance waterfowl and wetlands research and education. This research will be of benefit to wetlands management in the Mid-South as well as the network of migratory waterfowl from Canada to Mexico and Central America ($1 million).
And other projects to benefit Arkansas agriculture, wildlife and natural resources.