LITTLE ROCK-The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously voted to appropriate $50,000 to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help offset processing costs for the non-profit organization. The money comes from the state's General Improvement Fund.
AHFH works with 50 game processors across the state to provide meat to more than 100 feeding agencies in Arkansas. In 2009-10, about 68,000 pounds of venison were donated, a 62 percent increase from the 2008-09 season.
Commissioner George Dunklin praised the program and its efforts to help the AGFC balance Arkansas's deer herd while offering nutritious food to families in need.
"It's a wonderful, wonderful program that allows deer to be processed and be fed to people who need the food."
In a separate action, the Commission also voted to grant an additional $26,000 to AHFH to pay for maintenance and repair of the program's refrigerated delivery truck and to reimburse the program's coordinator, Ronnie Ritter, for his time and efforts in coordinating hunters, processors and feeding agencies to make the program a success.
In a 5-2 vote, the Commission also approved a $40,000 budget increase to the Communications Division for media training and consultation. The Commission voted in its October meeting to develop a comprehensive communications plan with expert assistance from a media/public relations consultant.
In other business, the Commission:
- Approved a $296,000 budget increase to the Fisheries Division to administer a Multi-State Conservation Grant awarded to the AGFC from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for continued work on the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership. The partnership is a collaborative effort of 38 states, chartered in 2009 by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan Board to improve fish habitat in reservoir systems for recreational fishing.
- Approved a transfer of $14,500 in unobligated federal funds and $4,825 in state funds to replace ATVs needed to perform fieldwork in avian influenza monitoring.
- Approved a $28,500 budget increase to the Fisheries Division to complete the connection of the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery in Lonoke to the City of Lonoke sewer system.
- Approved an $80,000 right-of-way easement from the White River Regional Irrigation Water Distribution District to construct two parallel water pipelines on Mike Freeze Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area. The pipelines will supply irrigation water to Arkansas's Grand Prairie.