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THE


Introducing the All-New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350

“To say the new 2020 GLE350 is good is akin to saying the Burj Khalifa is tall. It’s a true statement, but you’re leaving out most of the story. The 2020 GLE350 is in fact somewhere between exceptional and superlative. A real heavyweight in the midsize class. Mercedes-Benz’s motto has been “The Best or Nothing for some time now, with the arrival of the all new GLE, the marketing slogan will be speaking the truth.” Motor Trend Magazine nnn “The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 is more than just good – it’s outstanding. Mercedes implemented many improvements for this redesign, leaving nothing untouched. The body has updated styling and a longer wheelbase, with the latter adding stability and extra passenger space. The bevy of advanced technology includes an all-new infotainment system that’s packed with features. Performance and handling also take a serious step up from the previous GLE.” US News World Report

“The Redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz BLE350 Gets a Trick New Suspension and a Third-Row Seat. The new fourth-gen model is the most changed since 1997.” Car and Driver nnn “The 2020 GLE350 is about to hit the US showrooms in late spring 2019, and let me tell to all SUV buyers out there, wait for it! This new generation is absolutely ground breaking when it comes to technology. The new infotainment system called MBUX is stunning to look at and I wondered ow I lived before with the selfdriving capabilities offered in these kind of vehicles.” Top Speed Magazine nnn “It’s hard to get excited about a mid-size luxury SUV. But when one does it almost perfectly, like Mercedes has, it is notable. If you’re in this market, and luxury, comfort and technology are high on your list, I think the 2020 GLE350 is the best option in a group of good utilities.” AutoWeek Magazine

Mercedes-Benz AMP | MAY 2019

of Little Rock

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“As mid-size luxury SUVs go, this is about as good as it gets. The GLE is roomy and comfortable, chic and upscale, and reasonably rewarding to drive. It’s a techno-geek’s dream, with options ranging from an active suspension that can bounce the GLE free if it gets stuck to a voice assistant that will explain naughty sex terms. The GLE is all-new for 2020, with updated styling inside and out, new power trains, and a host of new technology. The sheet metal has been updated, though it retains the sharp-looking body-color C-pillar from the old-shape GLE. The new version looks bigger because it is bigger, with a 3.1-inch wheelbase stretch to provide more back seat room. We’re very happy with the styling changes; the old GLE looked a bit milquetoast, the new one has some much-needed presence.” AutoMobile Magazine

8 Colonel Glenn Plaza Dr. Little Rock, AR 72210 (501)-666-9457 www.mercedesbenzoflittlerock.com


THE

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INDUSTRY

ESTIMATED EMPLOYMENT

PROJECTED EMPLOYMENT

AGRICULTURE

23,681

25,521

CONSTRUCTION

50,297

56,580

HEALTH CARE

182,304

219,955

TRANSPORTATION

55,698

61,161

UTILITIES

7,696

7,975

LABOR FORCE

EMPLOYED

UNEMPLOYED

RATE

PULASKI COUNTY

189,967

182,277

7,690

4.0

BENTON COUNTY

135,841

131,393

4,448

3.3

WASHINGTON COUNTY

123,860

120,159

3,701

3.0

FAULKNER COUNTY

61,541

59,269

2,272

3.7

SALINE COUNTY

57,832

55,813

2,019

3.5

LABOR FORCE

EMPLOYED

UNEMPLOYED

RATE

CALHOUN COUNTY

2,475

2,324

151

6.1

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

2,485

2,348

1437

5.5

MONROE COUNTY

2,740

2,599

141

5.1

WOODRUFF COUNTY

2,768

2,595

173

6.3

SEARCY COUNTY

2,836

2,665

171

6.0


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J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

Lowell

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

24,000+

John N. Roberts III

USA Truck, Inc.

Van Buren

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

1,000 - 2,499

James D. Reed

Tyson Sales & Distribution Inc.

Springdale

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL) Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance

1,000 - 2,499

Rob Lyall, vice president of transportation

Southern Refrigerated Transport Inc.

Texarkana

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

1,000 - 2,499

David R. Parker

P A M Transport Inc.

Tontitown

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

1,000 - 2,499

Daniel Cushman

Maverick Transportation, LLC

North Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

500 - 999

Steve Williams

FedEx Freight East Inc.

Harrison

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

500 - 999

Frederick W. Smith

ArcBest Corporation

Fort Smith

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

500-999

Judy R. McReynolds

Transplace Texas LP

Lowell

Freight transportation arrangement

300-499

Frank McGuigan

FedEx Freight East Inc.

West Memphis

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

300-499

Frederick W. Smith

CalArk

Mabelvale

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

300-499

Rochelle Bartholomew

ABF Freight

North Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

300-499

Timothy D Thorne, president

Walmart Distribution (Trucking Division)

Searcy

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

200-299

Greg Smith, EVP of Supply Chain

McKee Foods Transportation LLC

Gentry

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

200-299

Mike McKee, president

J. M. Bozeman Enterprises, Inc.

Malvern

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

200-299

Michael Barr

FedEx Freight, Inc.

Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

200-299

Frederick W. Smith

BNSF Logistics LLC

Springdale

Freight transportation arrangement

200-299

Dan Curtis, president

XPO Logistics

Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

100-199

Bradley S. Jacobs

Woodfield Inc.

Camden

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Jimmy Starr, owner

Wayne Smith Trucking, Inc.

Morrilton

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Neil Corder, president

Walmart Transportation

Bentonville

Trucking, general freight, local Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Greg Smith, EVP of Supply Chain

Transplace Texas LP

Stuttgart

Freight transportation arrangement

100-199

Frank McGuigan

Southeastern Freight Lines, Inc.

Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

100-199

W.T. Cassels, III, president

Schneider Operating/Training Center

West Memphis

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Mark Rourke, VP and COO

Rich Logistics

Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (LTL)

100-199

Curt Stoelting

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Pro-Pak Logistics, Inc.

Fort Smith

Freight transportation arrangement

100-199

Steve Clark

Performance Transportation LLC

Little Rock

Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local

100-199

J. Bronson Haley

Marten Transport, LTD

Clarksville

Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance

100-199

Randy Marten

Little John Transportation Service

Russellville

Freight transportation arrangement

100-199

Chris Dale; Steven Dale, co-owners

J.D. & Billy Hines Trucking Inc.

Prescott

Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local

100-199

Billy R. Hines

Frito-Lay Transportation Inc.

Jonesboro

Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance

100-199

Steven Williams

ESS Transportation, Inc.

Damascus

Trucking, general freight, local

100-199

Brandon Zinser, president

EOS Trucking, Inc. (Estes)

Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Harvey Beech, president

Distribution Solutions Inc.

Harrison

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Mike McNutt

Dancor Transit Inc.

Van Buren

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Dan Bearden, founder and president

CSQT

Little Rock

Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local

100-199

Arthur Beech, owner

Bruce Oakley, Inc.

North Little Rock

Grain hauling, long-distance

100-199

Dennis Oakley, president

Blann Tractor Co.

Hampton

Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local

100-199

Brandon Avant, owner

Bill Davis Trucking Inc.

Batesville

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Bill Davis, president

Averitt Express, Inc.

North Little Rock

Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL)

100-199

Gary D. Sasser

Airways Freight Corporation

Fayetteville

Freight transportation arrangement

100-199

Ken Center, president

65 Years of service & solutions We are proud to celebrate 65 years of service and solutions. Since 1954, the foundation of our law firm has been, and continues to be, our solid, long-term relationships with clients — they are the core of who we are.

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A POWERFUL HISTORY OF POWERING YOUR FUTURE. The mission to deliver affordable power by our 17 electric distribution cooperatives remains as strong today as it was when we were first charged with delivering the energy of the future to homes throughout rural Arkansas. Now covering more than 60 percent of Arkansas, we’re providing reliable service to more than half a million homes, farms and businesses. From powering early radio and television technology to enriching and entertaining your lives with the latest energy efficient displays, we’re there when you need us, powering our future, together.

1 Cooperative Way • Little Rock, AR 72209 (501) 570-2200 • www.aecc.com AMP | MAY 2019


Be epic.

Since 1938, Better Auctions Have Always Been Blackmon Auctions.

Sam M. Walton College of Business Executive Education

Little Rock

In the center of Arkansas stands its capital city, Little Rock. Since its establishment in 1831, the city has grown to become a beacon for the state’s art, culture and commerce. The Sam M. Walton College of Business joins in this growth with the establishment of Walton College at 2nd & Main. The university is dedicated to preparing Arkansas for a future steeped in entrepreneurship and innovation through superior executive education programming. Walton College at 2nd & Main | 119 Main Street | Little Rock, AR 72201 | execed.uark.edu

LPL Financial, Inc. 2018

New name. Same location.

5423 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-664-4526 blackmonauctions.com

Lara Wilkerson Durham Financial Advisor LPL Financial lara.durham@lpl.com AR Insurance #8913727

49 years combined experience serving our investors.

John P. Hoefl, CRPCÂŽ

501-760-3400 2228 Albert Pike Rd., Suite R, Hot Springs, AR

Financial Advisor LPL Financial john.hoefl@lpl.com AR Insurance #1197665

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Training the Physicians of Tomorrow

NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State is committed to alleviating the shortage of primary care physicians here in Arkansas and the greater Delta region. Our campus in Jonesboro - in proximity to substantial health care needs - is uniquely situated to improve access to health care and health education in the state and region. Our students and faculty are eager and ready to address these needs with research, outreach, wellness initiatives, and superior patient care. Training physicians in Arkansas for Arkansas.

Want to learn more? Visit: nyit.edu/Arkansas Call: 870.680.8816 Email: comjbadmissions@nyit.edu


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WE TURN PROJECTS INTO PROGRESS.

Projects like these only happen with a clear vision – and a great partner. We’re proud to invest in the local progress of Arkansas cities, like Jonesboro’s St. Bernards Medical Center, The Mall at Turtle Creek and Miracle League Park. Contact us today and see what Crews can do for you.

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Member FINRA & SIPC

ARKANSAS STATE TREASURY JOB ANNOUNCEMENT | INVESTMENT MANAGER The Treasurer of State is looking to hire an investment manager (Senior Investment Manager II) with a college degree in accounting, economics, finance, or a related field.

• The applicant needs knowledge and understanding of liquidity maintenance and cash-flows, experience trading and operating on Bloomberg, and working with Microsoft Excel. • In addition, this person should have knowledge and experience in investing/trading, with an emphasis on both commercial paper and mortgage backed-securities (primary emphasis on the latter). • Please provide a resume, references, and a U-4 from the Arkansas Securities Commission or a current FINRA report. • A criminal background check is required. • A current series 7 license is not required but desired. • The starting salary range is between $100K and $120K depending upon qualifications.

REQUIREMENTS A minimum of seven (7) years investment or banking experience. Positive written and oral communications skills along with knowledge of Microsoft Office. A high school diploma is mandatory. All resumes must be received in our office by 4:30 pm on Friday, May 10, 2019. Mail to: Treasurer of State c/o Kristina Duke| 500 Woodlane, Suite 220 | Little Rock, AR 72201 | artreasury.gov/careers.html AMPPOB.COM | 39


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We have the numbers to back us up.

23,061 employees

39,904 patients

47,115

The Arkansas Health Care Association represents more than 90% of the state’s licensed long-term care facilities, which create more than $3.5 Billion of economic activity in Arkansas. Quality care for the fragile lives entrusted to us is the number one objective of every facility and caregiver. The result is quality of life for our patients and residents, and peace of mind for their families and friends.

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We’re extremely proud of our first and second year medical school students, and soon we will welcome Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physician Assistant Degree Program students. Educating tomorrow’s medical professionals, right here, right now. We think it’s good medicine for the River Valley and all of Arkansas. 7000 Chad Colley Boulevard Fort Smith, AR 72916

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Governing Transformation BY DAN MCFADDEN, APR | PHOTO BY JAMISON MOSLEY

I

f over the past year you walked the halls of any Arkansas government agency, read a recent report in Arkansas Money & Politics or watched or heard a local newscast, chances are you heard about Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s government transformation plan. Now that the Transformation and Efficiencies has been signed into law, there are many questions about how the plan will benefit Arkansans? Change is a constant, especially in Arkansas government. Cabinet-level state agencies have increased their ranks by 29 over the past 48 years – a growth rate of 1.66 agencies per year. On October 3, 2018, Hutchinson announced plans for a major reorganization of state government. The plan would reduce cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15. “This long-overdue and comprehensive reorganization effort will realign agencies to reflect a more modern and efficient way to operate state government without cutting any services,” explained the governor. For those who have been around Arkansas 60 years or longer, it is not déjà vu you’re experiencing. While 42 agencies sound like a daunting figure, a former governor addressed the same issue 48 years ago with 60 agencies.

A TALE OF TWO GOVERNORS

Flashback to 1971: newly-elected Gov. Dale Bumpers picked up and ran with the government reform torch first lit by his predecessor, Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. According to the Central Arkansas Library System’s Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, it was under Bumpers’ leadership that Act 38 of 1971 was signed into law. This transformational reform was responsible for AMP | MAY 2019

condensing state government from 60 to 13 agencies. The 1971 reorganized departments included: • Commerce • Correction • Education • Finance and Administration • Health • Higher Education • Industrial Development • Labor • Parks and Tourism • Planning • Pollution Control and Ecology • Public Safety • Social and Rehabilitative Services Fast forward to 2015. Shortly after Hutchinson took office, some early signs of government transformation began: the Department of Rural Services merged into Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), the Scholarship Lottery merged into the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), both in 2015; and the Energy Office merged into Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), with the Embalmers Board, Funeral Directors Board, Cemetery Board, and Burial Association Board into the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID), both in 2017. Time does have a way of repeating itself in Arkansas. According to Amy Fecher, the state’s chief transformation officer, the similarities between the government transformation challenges faced by Hutchinson the late Bumpers are striking. “Gov. Bumpers’ two main issues during the 1971 session were taxes and government reorganization, so it’s kind of ironic how things cycle around from 1971 to 2019,” she says. “Gov. Hutchinson recognized immediately when he came

into office that the state needed reorganization now just as much as when Gov. Bumpers tackled the issues.”

TRANSFORMATIONAL SAVINGS AND EFFICIENCIES

Fecher says a newer, leaner model of state government at the cabinet level “will break down silos of bureaucracy that have existed in state government for years and result in a better product for users in the state.” “In the nearly 50 years since Arkansas’s last comprehensive reorganization effort, state government has grown larger and more inefficient,” Hutchinson says. “Arkansas currently has more than 40 cabinet-level agencies; by contrast, the federal government has only 15. Since before I became governor, I recognized that changes were needed to make government manageable, improve services, increase efficiencies, and save taxpayer dollars.” Hutchinson says transformation efforts produced savings by combining some services and through simple changes, such as combining office space. Adding to the momentum, state payroll has been reduced by 1,500 employees through natural attrition. Fecher points out the governor has stated no state employee will lose a job as a result of the transformation. The mergers will strengthen affected agencies “by providing more resources while at the same time eliminating duplicative processes,” according to the October 3, 2019 news release announcing the government transformation plan. One example is moving the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) under the Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD). Under the Transformation and


Efficiencies Act of 2019 more than 200 boards and commissions will be assigned to a larger umbrella department. When it comes to actual taxpayer savings, only time will tell. “It’s too soon to put a figure on it, but based on the first four years of my administration, I am confident that our thoughtful and experience-based transformation plan will dramatically reduce our spending and improve our service to the taxpayers,” the governor said. There are government transformation savings visible today from the governor’s first term. “Since the 2015 merger of Arkansas Science and Technology and Rural Development with AEDC, we have given back over $5 million in general revenue to the state,” Fecher says. As state chief transformation officer, she divided her time during the merger as AEDC deputy director. Fecher added that additional savings were incurred by consolidating locations and eliminating office leases, once expired.

AND THEN THERE WERE 15

Sixteen house bills embodied the government transformation plan. The primary HB1070 read, “To create the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019; to establish cabinet-level departments; to transfer state entities; and to declare an emergency.” Rep. Andy Davis of Little Rock sponsored and filed all bills to the Arkansas Assembly, one for each of the 15 proposed cabinet-level departments: • Veteran Affairs • Health • Corrections • Inspector General • Agriculture • Parks, Heritage, and Tourism • Military • Human Services • Energy and Environment • Public Safety • Transformation and Shared Services • Labor and Licensing • Finance and Administration • Education • Commerce One of the cornerstones of government transformation will be a model not unfamiliar to the private sector: shared services. The new Department of Transformation and Shared Services will focus on the implementation of the legislation, as well as how the shared services model for internal operations can save money

over time, support each agency, and make it a more efficient process. Services will include personnel management, procurement, employee benefits, building authority, information systems and geographic information systems. “When you look at how businesses in the private sector operate, they’re constantly having to innovate, transform, and generate efficiency,” says Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado. “At the state government level, we’ve certainly not had a comprehensive effort to do that. The shared services approach allows us to do some of the things that you might see in private business to really make sure we are getting as much as we can out of state government.” Shepherd, a long-time advocate for state government efficiency, has served on the governor’s Transformation Advisory Board since 2017. The 16-person board was comprised of a voluntary group of citizens from public and private sectors and charged with making policy recommendations to the governor and chief transformation officer. The process of transformation has been deliberate, thoughtful, and thorough. “The advisory board heard from the different state agencies and departments and made recommendations to the governor’s office,” Shepherd said. “The governor finalized his plans, then Rep. Davis sponsored the legislation.”

PERSISTENCE AND DILIGENCE

Rep. Andy Davis of Little Rock says his role over the past two years is best described as one of persistence and diligence. “It has taken an immense amount of time to go through the process. We (the advisory board) formulated and debated outside the legislature and then, beginning last fall, began drafting bills and discussing between the legislative and executive branches how the cabinets are going to be structured.” According to Davis, individual bills were filed to maximize the time the public, agencies, and legislators had to review for each cabinet leading to one final omnibus bill. The governor was engaged with legislative leadership throughout the process, which, according to Shepherd, provided ample opportunity for legislators to give feedback and talk through any issues or concerns. “I have met with a number of legisla-

“Gov. Hutchinson recognized immediately when he came into office that the state needed reorganization now just as much as when Gov. Bumpers tackled the issues.” – AMY FECHER

tors throughout this process to listen to their thoughts on the legislation and to share why I believe now is the time to transform state government,” Hutchinson said. “It has been a time-consuming process, and I appreciate all members for the time they have invested in their review. Their diligent work has made this legislation even stronger.” On April 11, 2019, Hutchinson signed the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019. “This is a significant accomplishment that sets Arkansas on the right course to better serve her citizens,” the governor said. Hutchinson also announced the formation of the Transformation Transition Team, a 16-person team of state employees who will assist with implementation of the 2019 Act. The governor will appoint a secretary to lead each of the 15 cabinetlevel departments, all in place by July 1, the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year. A transformed Arkansas government is ready to take flight, promising savings, efficiencies, and a shared services model. “A lot of people asked me, ‘Are you excited that transformation is almost over?,’ and I kind of chuckle because transformation is just beginning,” Fecher said. “Now with the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 signed into law, implementing it, and really doing the work or finding the savings and bringing agencies together, that’s when you’ll see the real transformation.” To learn more about the new cabinetlevel departments, view the Arkansas Executive Branch master organizational chart at https://governor.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/190403_Governor_Hutchinsons_Final_Proposed_Transformation_ Org_Chart.pdf. AMPPOB.COM | 51


MONEY & MARIJUANA

AMP | MAY 2019


Cannabis industry spawns plenty of ancillary companies

As 2018 came to a close, you couldn’t look anywhere in the financial news without seeing a glowing prediction about the bright future of cannabis in the new year. Some of the predictions, such as the sustained explosion of CBD (cannabidiol) products, are already coming true while some of the bolder calls, like the outright legalization of pot in the United States, remain to be seen. But with medical marijuana sales in Arkansas expected to begin as early as mid-May, change is, surely, on the way. Arkansas’ cannabis-related industry is no different than in any other state, a rapidly-growing marketplace that’s spawning companies dealing in cannabis and industrial hemp in ways both overt (dispensaries, growing operations, CBD marketers) and less visible (marketing, financial services). Here’s a sketch of three such companies riding the industry’s first big wave into uncharted waters.

TREE OF LIFE SEEDS Jason Martin and Brian Madar were made to be business partners. Both had spent substantial time in corporate America, yet both maintained an active entrepreneurial streak. Looking at the cannabis industry, it wasn’t hard for the longtime friends to recognize the hockey-stick growth projections and get excited about the glowing commercial possibilities. There was, however, one overriding problem. “We didn’t fit the customer profile,” Madar, says with a grin. “I want to clarify

BY DWAIN HEBDA

that we were not cannabis consumers.” Determined there was a business to be had here, the pair dove into three years of unrelenting research, trying to decipher the ins and outs of growing, processing and selling cannabis from every conceivable angle, including what part of the behemoth to tackle first. What eventually grew out of the duo’s frequent trips to Colorado, where growing and selling cannabis was legal, was a focus on CBD, an oil derived from industrial hemp that’s used in products ranging from balms for achy muscles to calming pet treats. Unlike its cousin cannabis, grown for medical (or recreational) marijuana, industrial hemp is bred to tone down the THC, which is the chemical in the plant that provides the high. CBD products are, therefore, non-hallucinogenic. “Someone approached us who had already started developing genetics,” Martin says. “He ran large growing operations for legal businesses in Colorado, but they were all marijuanabased. Everybody was breeding up THC, and he looked at the opportunity to breed [THC] down to comply with industrial hemp. The lightbulb came on.” The pair liked the idea and ran with it via Tree of Life Seeds of which Martin is CEO and Madar is COO. The company is a genetic engineer of new strains of industrial hemp and a manufacturer and marketer of CBD products. The company’s timing was impeccable: The 2014 U. S. Farm Bill included language that defined industrial hemp as having a maximum THC content of 0.3 percent, thereby delineating it from cannabis. More importantly, industrial hemp was now as legal as any other row crop, though subject

to a bit more regulation than your average soybean (but not as much as cannabis). This new designation is allowing Tree of Life to bring its grower community back home, thereby supporting the local agriculture economy. “To be able to bring it back home to Arkansas was always our goal,” Madar says. “We’re from Arkansas, grew up here, and we always wanted to bring this opportunity to the local people, the Arkansas farmers here.” Meanwhile, Walgreens and CVS recently announced it would carry CBD products, which underscores the enormous opportunities for manufacturers like Tree of Life Seeds as well as the speed with which the industry is growing. “You write a business plan, you put it out there and then at some point in time – three months, six months, whatever – you have to modify that plan,” Martin says. “In this business, you can get left behind very, very quickly.”

BUD AGENCY Some products stand out as a model of marketing wizardry; whoever figured out a way to position molded cheese as a luxury blue jumps to mind. Also high on that list would have to be giving marijuana an image makeover, given its snarled lines of state legality, federal illegality and the picture that many people still have that’s less of a billiondollar agricultural entity and more about a 1970s Cheech & Chong retrospective. It is here that Elizabeth Michael thrives as one-half of the partnership that AMPPOB.COM | 53


AMP | MAY 2019


he Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission released its list of the state’s first 32 cannabis dispensaries. The commission divided the state into eight regions with four dispensaries per zone.

Zone 1 – Northwest Arkansas

• Acanza Health Group 2733 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville • Valentine Holdings 3390 MLK Blvd., Fayetteville • Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center 406 Razorback Dr., Bentonville • The Releaf Center 9400 McNelly Rd., Bentonville

Zone 2 – North Central Arkansas

• Fiddler’s Green 418 N. Bayou Dr., Mountain View • Plant Family Therapeutics 5172 Hwy. 62 East, Mountain Home • Arkansas Natural Products 931 Hwy. 65 North, Clinton • Big Fish of Central Arkansas 1400 Heber Springs Rd. North, Heber Springs

Zone 3 – Northeast Arkansas

• THC RX, Inc. 3700 I-40 Frontage Rd. East, West Memphis • Delta Cannabis Co. 1151 E. Service Rd., West Memphis • Comprehensive Care Group 201 & 203 N. Ok St., West Memphis • NEA Full Spectrum Medicine 480 Hwy. 49, Rector

Zone 4 – West Central Arkansas North • Fort Cannabis Co. 3904 Ayers Rd., Ft. Smith • River Valley Dispensary 23788 W. Hwy. 28, Bluffton • 420RX 3506 S. Arkansas Ave., Russellville • Johnson County Dispensary Corner of Pittsburg & County Pivot 2658

Zone 6 – West Central Arkansas South • Doctor’s Orders RX 4893/4897 Malvern Ave., Hot Springs • Green Springs Medical 309 Seneca St., Hot Springs • Native Green Wellness Center 26225 Hwy. 167, Hensley • Natural State Medical Group 1402 Airport Rd., Hot Springs

Zone 7 – Southeast Arkansas

• Pain Free RX Pine Bluff • Delta Cultivators 5144 Hwy. 44, Helena • Pine Bluff Agriceuticals 108 Grinder Field Ladd Rd., Pine Bluff • Arkansas Patient Services Co. 179 Industrial Park Dr., Warren

Zone 8 – Southwest Arkansas • Noah’s Ark El Dorado • Bloom Medicinals 410 Realtor Rd., Texarkana • RX Med Hines Blvd., Prescott • Arkadelphia Dispensary 188 Valley Street, Arkadelphia

Some clubs lift weights. We prefer wine glasses.

Zone 5 – Central Arkansas

• Harvest 3740 Prince St., Conway • Grassroots OPCO 705 E. Second St., Ward • Natural State Wellness Dispensary 11201 Stagecoach Rd., Little Rock • Natural Relief Dispensary 3107 E. Kiehl Ave., Sherwood

Now taking new members. | The1836Club.com

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inventors of arkansas BY DUSTIN JAYROE

From accelerator programs at the Venture Center in Little Rock to the hosting of a Startup Weekend in Northwest Arkansas, leaders across the state are doing more and more every year to foster bold visions and entrepreneurial spirit. The five inventors we have elected to highlight this month are the reason for that. There are a plethora of great minds with dynamic and unique ideas in Arkansas, in virtually every industry. But often, the concept itself is the easy part. Diving into entrepreneurialism, turning your life 180 degrees into the unknown, is the hard part. These five homegrown inventors trudged through some of those fears, broke down walls and speed bumps and made their dreams a reality.

AMP | MAY 2019

TACO PLATE The Taco Plate is a product of Jarratt Industries in Fayetteville. Founded in 2008 by Hugh Jarratt, the company boasts a mission to provide “unique, innovative and convenient products to make your life more enjoyable.” The Taco Plate checks all of those boxes. The plastic, oval plate features five raised ridges that make it the perfect choice for a meal featuring, well, tacos. The first four ridges form little mini canyons between each of them, creating three distinct holsters for your tacos. As anyone who has attempted to enjoy tacos on a traditional flat plate will know too well, it is a mess. They fall. They crack. They spill. The Taco Plate eliminates those problems by providing a product with the ability to hold each taco upright. As if that alone was not enough functionality, obligatory: but wait, there’s more. The fourth ridge separates the entrée (tacos) from the sides. The horizontal fifth ridge separates each of your two sides. So, whether you prefer your tacos with a combination of rice, beans, corn, or queso and salsa, the Taco Plate offers the ability to keep all that delicious food separate, neat and tidy. Since Jarratt created the original Taco Plate, the company has expanded to several function-formed food vessel offerings. One of these is the Double Dipper, which is a plastic bowl with an S-shaped ridge through the middle. Following the same concept of the plate, the bowl offers a separation of your dip, from your chips, or carrots, broccoli, strawberries, etc. All the Jarratt Industries’ plates and bowls come with an assortment of color variations; from flat colors to confetti themed to spice things up. Perhaps most notable of the Jarratt Industries offerings are the ones that do not involve its products. In 2015, they began providing one meal for a person in need for each item purchased off their website. To date, they have provided more than 25,000 meals. Taco Plates are available online via the Jarratt Industries website and at Walmart.com and Amazon.com.


NOW DX

Ozark IC

NOW Diagnostics (NOW DX) was founded by Jeremy Wilson and is helmed by CEO Kevin Clark. Its headquarters is set in Springdale and additional locations in California, Italy and Canada. Incorporated in 2014, NOW DX created innovative diagnostic health care testing. These innovations offer greater simplicity, lower costs and peace of mind for professional care providers and consumers. Their ADEXUSDx product line essentially provides a laboratory in the palm of your hand. It uses a drop of blood to test for various conditions and provides results within minutes. The tests under this umbrella include acetaminophen, hCG, troponin and HIV. Currently, NOW DX has pregnancy tests, three heart attack tests and three toxicology tests. They are also in the development phase for additional testing which will include sexually transmitted diseases, food intolerances and infectious diseases. NOW DX exists with the purpose to, according to their website, “empower patients and caregivers with the knowledge necessary to make intelligent healthcare choices. “We see a world where people have greater access to information concerning their health and well-being and are more comfortable in shaping their desired outcomes.”

Ozark Integrated Circuits, Inc., was founded by A. Matt Francis in Fayetteville in 2011. They provide custom integrated circuits solutions for all environments from consumer grade to the extreme. An integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits, and these “chips” are now found in virtually all electronic devices – from computers to phones and even home appliances. Ozark IC, provides their customers with complete customization, as their mission is to provide the best offering to meet a need or solve a problem. As they say, “If you feel like your problem is not easily solved by mainstream technologies, please talk to us.” The circuits that Ozark IC provide are the densest low-power circuits that operate up to 500° Celsius, or more than 900° Fahrenheit. They can accomplish this by using Silicon Carbide CMOS technology. For reference, the surface temperature of the hottest place in the solar system, the planet Venus, reaches these temperatures. This makes the circuits of Ozark IC ready for not only the conditions of Earth, but our entire galactic neighborhood. They also have ultraviolet sensors of the highest sensitivity that are patented and can be integrated into monolithic IC solutions. These UV sensors are also able to operate up to 500° Celsius. Ozark IC’s designs are also fit for extremely cold temperatures of up to -200° Celsius or -328° Fahrenheit.

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tups

FlexEhoop

Rocking & Rolling N Blade Solution

Created by Christi Brown of Rogers, FlexEhoop provides an innovative way to workout with inspiration from a childhood toy – the hula hoop. FlexEhoop is an exercise hoop that you can use just like a standard hula hoop, but, with its unique design and material, get much more of a workout. But unlike a hula hoop, either standard or weighted, that is made of rigid plastic, the FlexEhoop is flexible. This makes it more portable, space conscious and softer on your body. This patent-pending design also enables the FlexEHoop to double as a resistance band, making it a literal one stop for all workout needs. Brown came up with the idea of FlexEhoop out of her own personal necessity, saying that she, like most people, is not always disciplined when it comes to working out or is just too busy altogether. She needed something fun but could also be quick and straightforward. Hula hooping itself initially filled that desire, but since it was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, she came up with a better alternative in FlexEhoop. “Developing a new product without going into debt or quitting my job has been a challenge at best,” Brown says. “But I believe that God opens and closes doors, so I let Him lead. I was able to get it onto Walmart.com (I ran out of product), as well as, receive an offer by an exercise product company and a purchase order from Academy Sports. “This has been a three-and-a-half-year journey that has taken me out of my comfort zone many times,” Brown admits. “But that helped me to gain confidence and be able to help others.”

Richard Nevels invented the Rocking & Rolling N Blade Solution in Sulphur Springs in 2017. He created an attachment head for lawn mowers that serves to replace fixed blades with a safer and more cost-efficient alternative. Similar to some of his counterparts, Nevels experienced the need for such a device through his own trial and error. After fighting year after year with rocks, roots and other hindrances, all of which exhibit significant damage to mower decks and blades, he searched the market for a replacement. To his surprise, nothing existed. So, he created it. With some help from an engineer, John Tullis, and 3-D printing expert, Jeremy Weinman, Nevels came up with this revolutionary product. Essentially, the attachment works in a similar way that you may picture a weed-eater head working. Rather than rigid blades that are susceptible to bending and breaking, the N Blade Solution features a bladeless head that six cutting cords feed through. Once powered up, the head spins, and the cords cut grass and weeds. To date, Nevels and his team have conducted more than 120 hours of field testing to perfect his product and are garnering a lot of interest, even at these early stages. The Rocking & Rolling N Blade Solution will work in conjunction with any lawnmower; including deck, zero-turn, push-type, robotic and electric mowers. “We are very excited about this out-of-the-box option to fixed blades for creating a much safer mowing environment, while still providing the efficient mowing environment that results in a beautiful and well-manicured lawn,” Nevels says.

AMP | MAY 2019


BUSINESS

ARKADELPHIA

THE BEST

PLACES

TO START A BUSINESS IN ARKANSAS BY SYDNEY TURSKY THANKS TO THE WORK OF GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, THE ARKANSAS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION AND A NUMBER OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO ECONOMIC GROWTH, ARKANSAS HAS BECOME A PREMIER DESTINATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO START A BUSINESS. IN 2018, ARKANSAS

Arkadelphia is making significant strides in employment and economic growth, and city officials are ready to welcome new business to their small but developing town. Much of the city’s economy is built around the timber industry, and though the unemployment rate hit 11% during the Great Recession, it has stabilized at 3.8% over the last two years. About 800 jobs have been created over the last four years. “We’re seeing growth, and we have new retail business coming in,” says Stephen Bell, the president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce. “The other thing we have that’s a little unusual is we have a half-cent county sales tax for economic development … We have incentives that we can offer to someone that starts a business in Clark County. We’re one of the few counties that has a county economic development sales tax, and it was approved by the voters of Clark County, so there’s just a general interest in seeing growth.” Arkadelphia draws a lot of tourism from DeGray Lake, and both Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University attract new people to the area. Both schools grew last year, but Henderson, in particular, saw an 18% increase in enrollment. City officials are especially excited about the new Sun Paper mill; the final permit is expected to be cleared by the EPA in late summer, and then building can begin. Construction will take two years with up to 2,000 workers, but once completed, it should create 350 direct jobs with 1,000 additional jobs created in the local logging and trucking industry. When the mill is open, there will be 600 trucks a day coming into the mill. “We’re really positioned to see growth because we have the timber industry, two four-year universities, we’re on Interstate 30, and then we have DeGray Lake, so you would think people would want to live in Arkadelphia. We’re hoping so,” Bell says.

WAS AMONG THE TOP-RANKED STATES IN THE COUNTRY TO DO BUSINESS. WHEN PREPARING TO PUT DOWN ROOTS FOR A NEW COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION, HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE BEST PLACES IN ARKANSAS TO DO IT.

BATESVILLE Batesville, the county seat of Independence County, may fly under the radar because of its small size - just fewer than 11,000 people live there. However, thanks to its close proximity to both larger cities and natural beauty, its growing economy and supportive community, the town is ready and able to welcome new business, says Mayor Rick Elumbaugh. AMPPOB.COM | 59


“This town … has been a very progressive community,” Elumbaugh says. “Seems like the last 10 years, we’ve had so many positive things happen. Our community itself has invested in all the infrastructure needs; now we’re getting positive growth.” Three different manufacturing companies call Batesville home: Bad Boy Mowers and Spartan Mowers, which both specialize in zero-turn lawn mowers, and Intimidator, which makes utility vehicles. These three companies have massive facilities in the city. Batesville also recently got its first Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx to much excitement. The city also has a large poultry industry, which is as strong or stronger than it was 10 years ago, Elumbaugh says. Batesville sits on the banks of the White River in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. “It’s really a beautiful community,” Elumbaugh says. It’s within a two-hour drive of Little Rock, Memphis International Airport, and even closer to outdoor fun at Greers Ferry Lake, Norfork Lake and Spring River. Batesville is the oldest city in Arkansas, and the town’s leaders have worked hard to prioritize their historic downtown. Main Street’s Melba Theater was recently restored, new restaurants are moving in, and the library was renovated last year. “It’s good to see things like that coming back the way they were in the 60s,” Elumbaugh says. “I’m excited about Batesville, Arkansas; I’ll tell you that.”

CONWAY Thanks to a strong business culture in its historic downtown, extensive entrepreneurship resources and good quality of life, Conway is the ideal place to start a business, according to city administrators. “We have a lot of things going on, but it still feels safe and small,” says Kim Williams, the executive director of the Conway Downtown Partnership through the chamber of commerce. “We really do try to embrace the small business and the entrepreneur and help them as much as possible.” Conway, nicknamed the “City of Colleges,” has three universities, including the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, and Central Baptist College. The number of college students and recent graduates living in Conway brings the city’s median age to about 28 years old. “We tend to not lose a lot of our college grads,” Williams says. “They want to stay here and raise their families because Conway is such a great place to do that.” However, even as the town’s number of young residents grows, so is the number of older people. More and more baby boomers are choosing to stay in Conway after they retire, and AMP | MAY 2019

this age diversity is a great boost for businesses that can appeal to multiple markets, Williams says. “I think that interests people,” she says. The city’s location along the interstate is a boon for business as well. “People don’t necessarily have to go all the way to Little Rock to do their shopping. We have all those bigger box stores that people used to have to go there for, and the mom and pop stores are backing those larger retail stores.” Conway’s downtown area supports many local businesses, and some have been there for more than 40 years. Over the past 10 to 15 years, there’s been an increase in entrepreneurs opening new businesses there as well, Williams says. “The downtown Conway area has been able to retain its historic fiber,” she says. “We never lost our good retail core, even when the Walmarts and all that were coming into town. We always had a very strong core of retailers in the downtown area.” For new business owners, Conway’s system of entrepreneurial support programs is extremely helpful, Williams says. Startup Junkie’s Conductor, UCA and Hendrix all have active mentorship programs, and Conductor also provides a free makerspace and other services to any entrepreneur that needs them. “It’s a little bit cheaper to do business in Conway,” Williams says. “People coming from outside see that it’s not quite as expensive to start a business and stay in business once you’ve started it here too. The professors and folks really try to work with graduates, or just anybody, to try to help them move forward. It just feels like home.”

FAYETTEVILLE Fayetteville’s economy is growing at a rate of a business a day, but there’s no sign of oversaturation; city officials are eager to keep up with demand and encourage new business at every opportunity. Fayetteville is a great place to start a business because it is a great place to live, says Devin Howland, the city’s director of economic vitality. This month, U.S. News and World Report named Fayetteville the fourth best place to live in the country. “Fayetteville is an absolutely beautiful city from an aesthetic standpoint, and truly a wonderful place to live,” Howland says. “If you build a place where people want to live, you’re going to build a place where businesses want to be.” Fayetteville already has a strong entrepreneurial culture, fostered by the city’s partnerships with Startup Junkie, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and the University of Arkansas. All of the research, support, events and resources from these organizations benefit


entrepreneurs and help them get their ideas off the ground, often at no cost. “The University of Arkansas … is just a huge economic driver in our region,” says Haley Allgood, executive director of Startup Junkie Foundation. “And that close proximity to the students and the talent that you really need when you are starting your business is just fantastic.” Fayetteville residents are on board with the city’s economic growth; they passed a bond program in early April to renew the city’s one-cent sales tax, generating an estimated $226 million for various improvement projects, including a new cultural arts corridor. The downtown urban park space will feature a multiuse events facility, stage, garden and art. In other cities of similar size to Fayetteville, parks like these have served as “massive catalysts for economic development,” Howland says. “Businesses flock to these areas because people flock to these areas.”

FORT SMITH With the advent of a national museum and renewed efforts to improve the economy, Fort Smith is preparing for an influx of visitors and, it is hoped new business. “The U.S. Marshals Museum is using part of our past to celebrate our future,” says Claude Legris, executive director of the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’ll change not just the face of tourism but the entire face of tourism, and I’m thoroughly convinced that it’ll change the riverfront.” The U.S. Marshals Museum is set to open along the Arkansas River this fall, and officials expect 125,000 visitors in a stable year. More than half of that traffic will be tourists coming from farther than a two-hour drive away, according to the museum’s website. “We can’t wait for it to get finished so we can start bringing in bus groups and convention groups and just general tourists,” Legris says. “It’s making Fort Smith really an up and comer. It was kind of stagnant for a while, but it’s growing.” Recent developments in the downtown area, especially in the arts, have opened new business opportunities as more people head there to take in the giant murals or visit the brand new, world-renowned bike and skate park, says Talicia Richardson, the executive director of 64.6 Downtown, a private non-profit committed to revitalizing the area. Additionally, the new Chaffee Crossing development is exploding, Legris says. Combining commercial, residential and industrial spaces just off I-49, the area presents exciting new opportunities for entrepreneurs in a section of the city that,

just a few years ago, was mostly a collection of defunct army barracks. The Chaffee Crossing development team, the city’s Central Business Improvement Team, 64.6 Downtown and the chamber of commerce are all collaborating to get the city prepared for all the anticipated increase in tourism and business. “Now there is more of a strong emphasis to try to expedite this revitalization effort in a smaller amount of time,” Richardson says.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK North Little Rock is “a community that’s open to helping new businesses be successful,” and its supportive atmosphere makes it the perfect place to start a new business, according to the president and CEO of the city’s chamber of commerce, John Owens. “It’s easy to get things done here,” Owens says. “We’re a big part of Pulaski County, but we’re still a small, tightly knit business community and city. It’s easy to have access to people that can help you. We have one of the largest chambers of commerce in the state of Arkansas. The council members and the mayor are very business friendly, and everything from zoning to city services understands the importance of making it easy for people to meet their requirements in their business.” With extremely close proximity to Little Rock and easy access to other central Arkansas cities like Jacksonville and Cabot, the city is well-positioned for business and is seeing a lot of retail growth, especially in its historic downtown. The new Argenta Plaza is under construction downtown, Owens says. The 34,320-square-foot urban park space will feature a large square, stage and fountain, porch swings and a multi-use facility for events. Many businesses are following this project and moving to the downtown area, including Taggart Architects and the North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. As more apartment buildings have been constructed in the past two years and fun businesses like The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse have gained popularity, “there’s just more to do downtown. It’s just drawing more people to our downtown area,” Owens says. The city is also preparing for an expansion of its medical corridor near McCain Mall, where CARTI just broke ground on a new cancer treatment facility last week. “As our community continues to grow, it’s really important that we all work together to support our local businesses,” Owens says. AMPPOB.COM | 61


Dicamba drifts from Plant Board to Legislature to the state’s farmers. Shawn Peebles, a third-generation farmer in Augusta, didn’t realize he had become the face of the movement against the use of dicamba in Arkansas until he learned his picture appeared on a mailer sent across the state in February.

DICAMBA BY JEREMY PEPPAS

AMP | MAY 2019


“I didn’t even know I was going to be on that mailer,” he says board met again to clarify its earlier meeting and ultimately with a laugh. decided to put in a 120-day emergency rule that prohibits the Dicamba is a herbicide engineered by Monsanto. The use of older formulations of dicamba after April 15, with the product comes in liquid, dust and granule forms and can be state Legislature signing off on it on April 1. found in more than 1,100 products sold in the United States. The emergency rule put in place prohibits older dicamba to When properly applied and used with dicamba-resistant seed, be used from April 16 to August 13 and calls for a mile buffer, the herbicide does precisely what it is supposed to – kill pigweed in all directions, from research stations, specialty crops and and increase soybean production. Unfortunately, when sprayed, certified organic crops, with a half-mile buffer, in all directions, dicamba drifts and doesn’t always land where it was intended from other crops like conventional soybeans and cotton, which to. That has had a devastating impact on neighboring farms, aren’t tolerant to dicamba. where non-dicamba-resistant crops and plants have withered The buffer zone was another issue for Peebles. and died. “The applicator doesn’t know,” he says. “They don’t know According to University of Arkansas professor Jason where it goes, because it drifts out and could (land) miles away.” Norsworthy, dicamba vaporizes at higher temperatures and A dispute between neighboring farmers over the use of with the level of humidity experienced in an Arkansas’ summer, dicamba and its disastrous effect led to the shooting death of it’s led to more drift locally. Craighead County farmer Mike Wallace in 2016. Police said at “These guys are the smartest scientists in Arkansas, in the the time that Wallace and neighboring farmhand Allan Jones, South, and they’re telling us there’s a problem with dicamba,” of Arbyrd, Mo., had a dispute over the spraying of dicamba that Peebles says. “Every weed scientist you consult tells you this is ruined Wallace’s crops. Jones was found guilty of homicide and a problem. It is just fundamentally wrong. If we can’t regulate sentenced to 24 years in prison. ourselves – and we can’t – what are we going to do?” “I knew Mike Wallace,” Peebles says. “I farmed near According to the National Institutes of Health, dicamba is Paragould, and I knew him and knew his wife. moderately toxic by ingestion and slightly With what was approved, with dicamba, you toxic by inhalation or exposure to the skin. are going to see more bad feelings.” Symptoms of dicamba poisoning include But it might also mean more soybeans are loss of appetite, vomiting, muscle weakness, wildly lucrative for Arkansas farmers. slowed heart rate, shortness of breath, central “The pure value of the state’s soybean crop nervous system effects (victim may become in 2017 was $1.74 billion,” says Scott Stiles an excited or depressed), benzoic acid in the $1.74 BILLION urine, incontinence, cyanosis (bluing of the instructor in economics at the University skin and gums), and exhaustion following of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture. “It’s repeated muscle spasms. In addition to these estimated that soybeans have a value-added symptoms, inhalation can cause irritation of impact of roughly $817 million for the state in the linings of the nasal passages and the lungs, terms of additional jobs an economic activity.” and loss of voice. Nationally, Arkansas ranks 10th in the The risk from pesticides and changing country in terms of soybean production, in market forces caused Peebles to change his SOYBEAN CROP figures from Arkansas Farm Bureau and at approach to farming. He made the switch to 3.1 million acres, that’s more than rice, corn, organic farming about 12 years ago because, sorghum and wheat combined in the state. according to him, he was “broke. Flat broke.” “The percentage of the acreage planted to the dicamba He had been growing 7,000 acres of conventional row crops of technology will be greater in 2019 than it was in 2018,” says soybeans and rice, so the transition was a big one. Peebles says Jeremy Ross of the University of Arkansas Cooperative he made the change after meeting Searcy farmer Jody Taylor, Extension Service. “However, just in the last few months, two who was doing organic farming in White County and showed other herbicides have been approved, Enlist and LibertyLink him its economic benefits. GT27. These two technologies will have limited acreage due “People think ‘hippie environmentalist’ when they hear to variety selection, but they will gain increased acreage in the organics,” Peebles says. “But the numbers showed there was big future.” money in it. So I had a barn sale, sold everything I owned, and I Peebles, who spoke while driving through a rainstorm, says started farming 150 acres of organic soybeans.” this year’s forecast is another potential problem for farmers. He now has 60 employees and grows edamame, corn, green “It is raining now, and we are going to have a very wet spring,” beans, sweet potatoes and processor pumpkins on 2,000 acres, he says. “I think you are going to see a lot of damage from following the guidelines to have the crops certified as organic dicamba this year, and I expect an emergency ban to be put in produce. place. “Organics, it was a means to an end for me,” he adds. “Farmers are going to have less days to spray,” he adds. “You can’t Peebles was among the farmers who served on a dicamba spray when it rains, and when you have a dry day, you are going to task force formed by the governor nearly two years ago. have all these farmers out, and you are going to get more chemical in “When I got involved, I realized how bad a product it the air, and you’ll see 10 times as much damage.” was,” he says. “It kills. It is a dangerous chemical, volatile and And not necessarily just to the crops. uncontrollable.” “It is going to be environmental,” Peebles says. “It is going to be He spoke against the herbicide at a state Plant Board meeting environmental damage, and people will see that this is a problem.” in February and has continued to speak out against it as the

2017 PURE VALUE OF ARKANSAS

AMPPOB.COM | 63


AL T I P S O H

S

Fall 2017

IT ALL STARTED ON A MOLECULAR LEVEL ion

Innovat itals.org arkhosp

Several years ago, Corey Thompson was a University of Arkansas Ph.D. candidate doing lab research on nanoparticle coatings for glass. His long-term goal was to develop that research into a business enterprise to decrease the cost of solar energy. With the help of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Science & Technology, Corey was able to secure National Science Foundation grants worth $900,000. Today, he is CEO of WattGlass, a company that produces coatings for solar panels that virtually eliminate reflection, glare and fogging. AEDC is proud to play a part in empowering visionaries like Corey.

NAR MC NORTH ARKANS AS REG IONAL MEDICA L CENT ER

DEDICATED PROFESSIO HE ALT HCAR NALS E IS A FAM ILY AFFAIR AT NA RM C PH AR MACY

NA RM C SE TS AN EX AM PLE

DID YOU KNOW? Vowell, Inc., is home to a renowned custom publishing department capable of creating, designing and printing a quality product for your niche market. Vowell, Inc., produces a number of annual and biannual publications that reach readers statewide. Let our company sell your products or services by educating and entertaining potential customers through a custom publication.

Vowell Inc. • 501.244.9700 hbaker@amppob.com AMP | MAY 2019

Visit ArkansasEDC.com/small to learn how AEDC’s Division of Science & Technology can help turn your innovative idea into a successful business.

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Profile for AY Magazine

Arkansas Money and Politics May 2019  

ON THE COVER: Mack McLarty shares life experiences with the next generation of Arkansas leaders. Photo by Rest Peek.

Arkansas Money and Politics May 2019  

ON THE COVER: Mack McLarty shares life experiences with the next generation of Arkansas leaders. Photo by Rest Peek.