At a Glance
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is the statewide research and extension agency serving Arkansas agriculture, communities, families and youth. The mission of the division is to discover new knowledge, incorporate it into practical applications and assist Arkansans in its application. With a presence in all 75 counties, the division is comprised of two principal units: the Agriculture Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service. Division faculty and facilities are located on five university campuses, at five regional research and extension centers, eight branch stations and other locations. An extension office is located in each county in cooperation with county governments. The community of Arkansas agriculture impacts about 270,000 people whose jobs directly or indirectly depend on agriculture, including the forestry sector. The $9.6 billion they receive in wages is more than 15 percent of the state’s total labor income. Agriculture accounts for more than $16 billion of value added to the state’s economy and 12 percent of GDP, greater than any state in the region.
Points of Pride
Drought was the biggest story in Arkansas agriculture in 2012 and the Division’s extension specialists helped producers and homeowners manage water and minimize losses. Extension agents also helped producers obtain federal assistance during one of the most difficult periods of weather since the Dust Bowl. Division economists studied the monetary impact drought would have on agriculture in the state.
Scientists and educators in the Division are attacking childhood obesity in a project funded by a $4.78 million grant for five years from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project identifies characteristics of the food environment that contribute to childhood obesity and thereby enables the proposed interventions to target those children most at risk for obesity.
Volunteers are an extremely important component of delivering Extension programs, particularly in 4-H, Extension Homemakers and Master Gardeners. In 2012, more than 82,000 volunteers donated in excess of 2 million hours with a total value to the state of $44 million.