State's Corn Acreage Expected to Double this Year

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Cooperative Extension Service says Arkansas farmers this year will more than double the acreage they devote to corn.

A boom in ethanol production, and plans to increase that production, are fueling the higher interest in corn as a crop in Arkansas.

The extension service estimates that corn acreage in Arkansas this year will total 500,000 acres, compared with 190,000 acres last year.  Not since 1957, when Arkansas farmers planted 533,000 acres in corn, has there been as much land devoted to the crop in this state.

Even if corn acreage grows as much as the extension service forecasts, land devoted to the crop will have a long way to go to catch up with the acreage devoted to Arkansas' three major row crops...rice, soybeans and cotton.

Rice, the top crop in the state last year in terms of value, was grown on about 1.4 million acres in Arkansas during 2006.  Soybeans, while yielding less in crop value, were grown on about 3.2 million acres, more than twice the land devoted to rice, while cotton was planted on about 1.2 million acres.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)