Court orders nine members of plant board to be removed

by George Jared ([email protected]) 2,376 views 

The Pulaski County Circuit Court, 6th Division, issued an order Thursday (June 10) removing nine of the 18 members of the State Plant Board from their positions on the board. The Court’s action was a result of a ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court that those nine members had been unconstitutionally appointed.

In 2017, a lawsuit was filed by six Arkansas farmers challenging the constitutionality of the statute that provides for certain members of the Plant Board to be elected by private trade associations. The circuit court upheld the constitutionality of the statute and the farmers appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

On May 6, 2021, the Supreme Court held that the statute was unconstitutional and remanded the case to the circuit court with instructions for the 6th Division judge to enter an order removing the unconstitutionally appointed members.

The members removed from the Board are:

Tommy Anderson, Arkansas Agricultural Aviation Association; Marty Eaton, Arkansas Seed Dealers Association; Terry Fuller, Arkansas Seed Growers Association; Mark Hopper, Arkansas Pest Management Association; Brad Koen, Arkansas Crop Protection Association; Scott Milburn, Arkansas Forestry Association; Mark Morgan, Arkansas State Horticultural Society; Jason Parks, Arkansas Green Industry Association; and Terry Stephenson, Arkansas Oil Marketers Association.

The remaining members appointed by the governor are:

Kyle Baltz, farmer; Barry Walls, rice grower; Bruce Alford, forage; Matthew Marsh, farmer; Sam Stuckey, cotton grower; Reynold Meyer, livestock, and Darrell Hess, Arkansas Plant Food Association.

Dr. Ken Korth and Dr. Nathan Slaton also remain on the board as non-voting members appointed by the Vice President for Agriculture of the University of Arkansas.

The law that was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court was amended by the Arkansas General Assembly earlier this year. The new law will not take effect until July 28 and allows the governor to appoint positions formerly elected by the trade associations.