Ag Businesses Promote 'Arkansas Made' Brand

LITTLE ROCK, AR--As Americans flock to the local food movement the Arkansas Agriculture Department is encouraging businesses to make use of their home court advantage.

Sellers at the Little Rock farmers market proudly post the birthplace of fresh produce, showing off peaches from Cabot, green beans from Grady, knowing local products command a premium and pride. 

Producer Lance Cummings says, "When people start hearing home grown is in, this place covers up with people."

But what about goods, not grown but only made in Arkansas? 

"We are proud to be an Arkansas company. We want to support where we can and provide where we can," says Stan Roberts, president of Wicked Mix.

Wicked Mix uses a mix of local and imported goods to make its sweet and spicy trail mix-like snack.

After the Arkansas Agriculture Department decided to unify Arkansas farmers with the "Arkansas Grown" brand, it became so popular demand forced them to add another label for products like Wicked Mix that are "Arkansas Made." 

"When I walk in any store and see something, I turn that product over and see where it's made," says Zachary Taylor, marketing director for the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

Taylor, a 5th generation farmer, says it's only right, the Natural State market it's natural resources. 

"It keeps that dollar within the local community. When you look at issues like rural development that's a big issue," says Taylor.

Taylor says roughly 500 producers use the "Arkansas Grown" label. 

Trademarked this year the "Arkansas Made" brand can be seen tagging more than 50 businesses. 

Open for 11 months, Wicked Mix has six employees and ships to 25 states. 

Roberts says, "We want to add jobs and add to the economy and to do that we need to sell our product across the country."

Like it's headquarters, much of it's support and success is rooted at home. 

Wicked Mix is also in 18 Central Arkansas Kroger stores. The company says some big name retailers are seeking them out specifically because they're made in Arkansas. 

Roberts says managers see interest spike when they add "Arkansas Made" to their displays.

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