News in brief

Posted: November 10, 2017 at 1:40 a.m.

Rice farmers to tackle

rules for field burning

Rice farmers voted this week to form a task force that will look into developing voluntary guidelines for farmers who burn their fields after harvest.

The vote came Tuesday during a meeting in Brinkley of the Arkansas Rice Federation, the umbrella organization for the Arkansas Rice Council and the Arkansas Rice Farmers, according to a news release by the federation.

The task force, with members yet to be named, will consider a model already in place through the Arkansas Prescribed Fire Council's voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines for forest landowners and private, state and federal forestry agencies and companies.

The group will consider farmer burn plans and the reporting of prescribed burns to the Arkansas Forestry Commission as part of voluntary smoke management guidelines.

"This is something the ag industry as a whole has acknowledged and is working to address collectively," Jeff Rutledge, chairman of the Rice Federation, said in the news release.

Farmers often burn fields after harvest to remove stubble and eliminate potential diseases.

-- Stephen Steed

Tyson gets 100%

as diversity score

Tyson Foods Inc. received a perfect score for workplace diversity, according to a report Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

The 2018 Corporate Equality Index surveyed 947 national companies on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality. Of those companies, 609 received perfect scores.

"We're proud of our diversity and believe it makes us a stronger, better company," said Tyson President Tom Hayes in a news release.

The index evaluated companies on whether they implemented nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic- partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBT community.

This is the second consecutive year Tyson Foods has earned a 100 percent rating.

-- Nathan Owens

Arkansas Index rises

1.73, ends at 378.29

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, rose 1.73 to 378.29 Thursday.

"[Thursday's] equity selloff was led by the industrials sector as U.S. Senate Republicans released a tax plan that would delay a corporate tax cut until 2019," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

Wal-Mart, PAM Transportation and USA Truck hit 52-week highs.

Total volume for the index was 28.1 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 11/10/2017