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USDA fills 2 posts at state-level offices

State Rep. David Branscum, a Republican from Marshall, has been named state director of the Farm Service Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA also named David Curtis of Salem, director of the Fulton County Farm Service Agency's field office in Fulton County, as state director of its Rural Development office.

Branscum, a cattle rancher whose first term in the House of Representatives was in 2011, is co-chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council. The Farm Service Agency helps farmers and ranchers in a variety of government programs, including loans, disaster assistance and conservation. He replaces Linda Newkirk of Little Rock, who retired this year after nearly 40 years with the agency.

Curtis, who has been with the agency in Fulton County for 33 years, replaces Karen Petrus, who has been serving as acting director of the Rural Development office, which works to improve housing, economic development and water and wastewater systems in rural areas.

-- Stephen Steed

Fraud, cybersecurity

topics of 2 LR events

Two events about how businesses and consumers can protect themselves from fraud will be held in Little Rock Nov. 14.

From 9-11 a.m., Arvest Bank and Mainstream Technologies will present "Cyber Security: Identifying & Mitigating Risks to Your Business" at the banquet hall at Pulaski Tech's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute at 13000 Interstate 30.

Speakers include Jon Pascoe, director of information security at Arvest, and John Burgess, president of Mainstream Technologies.

The conference is free to the public with registration. Contact Deborah Parsons at (501) 379-7277.

From 6:30-8:30 p.m., AARP of Arkansas will present Frank Abagnale. His exploits were depicted in the movie Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio. For more than 40 years, Abagnale has advised the FBI on how to outsmart cons.

The event, free to the public, is at the Embassy Suites Little Rock on Financial Centre Parkway.

-- David Smith

Index gains 2.68,

hits 52-week high

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, rose 2.68 to 380.70 Monday, a 52-week high.

The index is up more than 17 percent since closing at 324.63 on Nov. 7 last year.

"The major averages closed at record levels as investors assimilated a flurry of mergers and acquisitions headlines," said Bob Williams, senior vice president and managing director of Simmons First Investment Group Inc. in Little Rock.

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

Business on 11/07/2017

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