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Broadleaf resistant pigweed found in Mississippi, Crittenden counties


FAYETTEVILLE — There are some things that, even when you know it’s coming, no one’s happy when it gets here.

On Monday, Tom Barber, extension weed scientist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, announced that he and several fellow researchers had confirmed a strain of glufosinateresistant Palmer amaranth — commonly known as pigweed — in Mississippi County.

Glufosinate, an herbicide marketed under the name Liberty, is one of the few remaining chemistries that are effective in controlling pigweed in soybeans and other crops.

“We have put a lot of selection pressure on glufosinate the last 10 years or more, so no, it is not surprising,” Barber said, “and likely was inevitable.”

In a Feb. 15 article published on the Arkansas Row Crops Blog, Barber noted that in the summer of 2020, two fields in Mississippi County that had received three applications of glufosinate did not effectively control pigweed in the area. Researchers collected seed from both sites, and took the samples to Fayetteville to overwinter in a Division of Agriculture research greenhouse.

After several rounds of testing, the Mississippi County samples were found to be at least 15 times more resistant to glufosinate than the “susceptible standard” against which plant herbicides are typically judged for effectiveness.

A third sample, taken from a field in neighboring Crittenden County, was found to be 3.5 times more resistant to the herbicide.

“This finding will represent the first documented case of broadleaf resistance to glufosinate herbicide in the world,” Barber wrote.

As much of modern row crop production hinges on effective weed control, increasing resistance to existing technologies could augur more difficulty in maintaining yields and profitability for farmers in the United States and elsewhere.

“In cotton or soybean crops, the options are limited, especially post-emergence,” Barber said. “We recommend using two effective residual herbicides at planting for residual pigweed control in both crops, plus paraquat at planting to make sure we start clean.”

Paraquat is marketed as Gramoxone.

Barber said dicamba is an option for post-emergent pigweed, although the Arkansas State Plant Board has implemented a May 25 cut-off date. Further, the availability of dicamba often seems in jeopardy, one year to the next, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various courts have offered contradictory decisions and reversals over the last several years. The Enlist system can also provide an option for post-emergent weed control for pigweed, he said.

“The best plan is to rotate to corn or rice on the acre if possible as well as remove all pigweed escapes, which will reduce seed returning to the seed bank,” Barber said.

Tommy Butts, extension weed scientist for the Division of Agriculture and co-author of the Feb. 15 blog post, emphasized the need for growers to help slow herbicide resistance in weed populations by avoiding overreliance on individual methods of control.

“Now, more than ever, it is a must to diversify weed control strategies and implement an integrated weed management approach including cultural, mechanical, and preventative tactics,” Butts said.

Continued on Page 14 STATE NEWS (cont.)

To learn more about row crop agriculture in Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Row Crops Blog at https://arkansascrops.uaex.e du/. For the most up-todate weed science information,

visit ***

JONESBORO — An advertisement lit a spark in Megan Brown to advocate for human trafficking victims.

“In 2008, I was living in Nashville and I saw an ad for a documentary on human trafficking,” she said.” I worked with an organization in Nashville and when I moved back to Jonesboro, I became involved in a Little Rockbased organization.”

After hearing about local human trafficking cases, Brown reached out to community organizations two years ago and began to educate them on trafficking. In 2019, she co-founded Hope Found, a Jonesboro-based nonprofit that advocates for victims.

“In 2018, the owner of Kirin was arrested for trafficking and several young girls also went missing that year, suspected victims of trafficking,” she said. “I knew there needed to be more education in that area.”

Brown said human trafficking consists of two elements – sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The very definition of human trafficking, she said, is the recruitment, advertising, harboring, transporting or soliciting a person through the means of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of exploiting them for sex trafficking or labor trafficking.

“Trafficking is very complex, it does not discriminate,” she said.

Brown said the most vulnerable populations in communities are those who have job insecurity, food insecurity, those who were part of the child welfare system and children in general.

Traffickers convince people they can give them a better life, Brown said.

That leads to “boy friending” in which victims soon fall in love with the trafficker, who in turn, exploits them to perform sex acts or labor acts.

According to a statistical report from Jonesboro Police Department, there appears to be a rise in cases. Although there are no reports for 2020, three years prior to that show a steady increase in cases.

JPD Public Information Specialist Sally Smith said 24 cases have been investigated by the department during the last three years.

“Two in 2018, nine in 2019 and 13 in 2020,” she wrote in an email to The Sun.

“There could be a possibility of more but there is not a reporting box they click on when this type of crime is reported,” Smith wrote.

“We can only do a narrative search of reports where it is mentioned in the investigative notes.”

Brown said there are several areas that need improvement so cases can be tracked accurately.

“Arkansas lacks a consistent data tracking system for cases of trafficking,” she said.

Brown said last year her organization served 17 clients in Northeast Arkansas. As the cases climb and Brown and her team work to bring awareness to human trafficking, she has hopes for the future of her newly founded nonprofit.

“Our goal is to open a safe house in Northeast Arkansas for survivors of trafficking and those directly affected by the commercial sex industry,” she said.

“There are a lot of things we are looking at.”

As Brown continues bringing education and awareness to the issue, she is also forming community partnerships to help. One of the

Continued on Page 15 STATE NEWS (cont.)

organizations that has participated in her training is Court Appointed Special Advocates of the 2nd Judicial District.

Angie Tate, who works for CASA, said volunteers are more educated about what defines human trafficking.

“One of the huge benefits of our partnership is that Megan has done training with our volunteers,” she said. “She helped them to understand trafficking is more than just someone being dragged off the street.”

Tate said volunteers realized there is not just sex trafficking but labor trafficking.

“It’s happening in our very own backyard,” she said.

Brown’s commitment to educate community organizations that work directly with the most vulnerable populations is beginning to bring about a change of mindset, Tate said.

“Communities used to think women who were in prostitution were there by choice,” she said. “These women are under someone’s control, oftentimes being gaslighted and being made to feel they have no other options.”

Many times when victims are identified, they have nothing but the clothes on their back when they do escape, Brown said.

“We just launched Bags of Hope in January. We have backpacks filled with supplies like clothing, hygiene items, notebooks and a Bible,” she said.

Brown said the bags were given to the JPD to help those victims.

SEARCY — A warrant was issued Feb. 9 by the 17th Judicial District for a 59 year-old Searcy man accusing him of distributing/possession or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

Bobby Dale Vaughn is facing

In facts constituting reasonable cause in the affidavit for arrest, it is stated that on Nov. 21, 2019, Sgt.

Joshua Chambliss of the Searcy Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents Aaron Greene and Daniel Turner conducted an investigation into alleged child pornography involving a specific email address.

Through analysis of electronic service providers, internet service providers and 'open source research records obtained through appropriate legal process' it was determined that Vaughn had allegedly created the specific email address which contained about 120 pictures that depicted sexually explicit images of a young female, approximately eight to 10 years old.

The specific email that authorities investigated was reportedly logged into 20 times between Feb. 1, 2019 and Aug. 8 using a Cablelynx Internet Provider address which was allegedly assigned to Vaughn's internet account and matched his physical address in Searcy.

On Feb.18, 2020 Agent Green interviewed Vaughn in reference to this case. He reportedly admitted to possessing child porn. The affidavit states that a search warrant on Vaughn's vehicle and residence where another thumb drive was found, containing approximately 460 child porn images.

No court date has been set for Vaughn at this time.

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