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Visitors take note of state’s rice, corn

Central America potential market by Cristina LaRue | September 1, 2023 at 1:52 a.m.
Heavy farm equipment is used to harvest a corn field near Lonoke on Monday, August 15, 2022. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Colin Murphey)

NEWPORT -- Representatives of one of the largest importers and end-users of feed grains in Central America met Thursday with Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board representatives and Arkansas Department of Agriculture officials to learn more about corn production in Arkansas.

The representatives of Corporación Multi Inversiones, a multinational agri-industrial corporation based in Guatemala, met at the Jackson County Extension Center's new Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Producers building for a presentation before taking a tour of nearby rice and corn fields at an operation run by third-generation farmer Tommy Young, chairman of the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board.

The Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board is a member of the U.S. Grains Council, a national organization that promotes corn, barley and sorghum; the groups helped facilitate the visit with the Corporación Multi Inversiones representatives so they could learn about nutrition, specifically how to make better feed for their livestock, Young said.

"What this is doing, is it is enabling the Arkansas corn producer to be a part of a national thing to help promote corn and do it at minor cost," Young said. "This team came in at the beginning of the week and studied at Little Rock at a nutrition conference and we thought this would be a good way for them to see corn being produced in Arkansas and modern technology being used in Arkansas."

"This today is a side trip for them to be able to see the products," Young said.

Planted corn acreage has steadily increased over the decades since the early 1990s and the board has noted consistent yield increases over the years, Jackson County Extension Center staff chair Matthew Davis said.

"When I first got on the board, we grew about 250,000 acres of corn in Arkansas, and now, we're close to one million" acres, Young said.

Poultry is a major agricultural product in Arkansas, so corn for feed is important, Young said.

Arkansas ranked third in the nation for commercial broiler and turkey production, and second in the nation for chickens sold for slaughter in 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Livestock Inventory Rankings.

The representatives from Corporación Multi Inversiones were Roberto Sibrian, operations manager for a feed mill in El Salvador and Carlos Zapata with a company nutrition department based in Honduras.

Print Headline: Visitors take note of state’s rice, corn


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