Federal agency renews support for Arkansas Water Resources Center
The Arkansas Water Resources Center passed its three-year evaluation and will be eligible to continue receiving federal funding. The AWRC, a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, received its annual base grant of $92,355 from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The AWRC is one of 54 water resources research centers across the nation that the federal program funds to support its work. The AWRC and the other centers use the funding to train new scientists, disseminate research results to water managers and the public and cooperate with other institutions in their regions on water issues. The AWRC is part of the National Institutes for Water Resources, which is a nationwide network of water resources research centers.
The federal funds currently support eight projects at the AWRC. The center’s research projects have studied irrigation and runoff, innovative domestic wastewater disposal systems, groundwater modeling, land-use mapping, erosion and pollution, water quality and ecosystems. It operates a fee-based water quality laboratory, sponsors an annual water conference and monitors water quality in the important
Illinois River and White River watersheds.
The center’s projects are determined with the participation of a technical advisory committee of professionals from educational institutions, environmental organizations, water supply districts and government agencies in Arkansas.
“This is a unique federal program which addresses state-defined water issues but also lays the foundation to address water issues of national focus,” said Brian Haggard, AWRC director and a professor of biological and agricultural engineering. “This federal program also requires that the state invest $2 for every federal dollar spent on research, so it is a joint effort between the federal government and the state of Arkansas. The next call for proposals will be going out soon, and we anticipate funding two faculty research proposals and up to six student research support proposals.”
Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center extends its reach
The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, or APAC, was expanding into one of the nation’s fastest growing economies – northwest Arkansas.
In April, Max Franks, program associate, joined officials from Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville at a ribbon cutting for the first APAC satellite Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center extends its reach office since it relocated to Little Rock from Malvern.
“We see this alliance with NWACC as a means of extending the reach of our Community and Economic Development mission,” said Tony Windham, head of the Cooperative Extension Service. “APAC is just one of the channels the Cooperative Extension Service uses to help our neighbors and communities thrive, and we are excited to open a new chapter.”
APAC, headquartered in CED, teaches Arkansans to navigate the process to obtain government contract work. Between July 2013 and June 2014, APAC helped 672 clients and facilitated 674 contracts worth nearly $24 million.
APAC started in 1988 as an offshoot of the Entrepreneurial Services Center operated by the University of Arkansas. In 1993, the university entered into an agreement with the Department of Defense to take part in the nationwide Procurement Technical Assistance Program. Under this agreement, APAC serves Arkansas businesses and dozens of public agencies.
First 4-H stallion service auction a success
A stallion service online auction that benefited the 4-H equine program and the University of Arkansas horse judging team went so well that planning is underway for a second one.
“We brought in $17,400, and for our first year, we were pretty pleased with that,” said Mark Russell, assistant professor–equine for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“This is unique. We don’t know of any other 4-H program doing anything like this.”
At auction were stud services to top cutting, western pleasure and halter stallions, all donated by their owners. The proceeds from the auction will fund scholarships to 4-H equine camps, purchase camp equipment and help support travel for the University of Arkansas’ horse judging team.
“We’re looking to doing it again next year,” Russell said. “We have some of the same stallions committed and a few new ones too.”
The auction’s top bid of $4,250 went for a service to High Brow CD, a cutting horse stallion that sired 65 National Cutting Horse Association champions and reserve champs in 2014 alone. His foals have earned more than $2.5 million. The 10-yearold stallion was a champion himself, with more than a half-million dollars in lifetime earnings and a place in the NCHA hall of fame. High Brow CD stands at Grace Ranch in Jennings, Louisiana.
Pest scouting key in record rice verification yield
A 60-acre rice verification program field, grown fungicide- and insecticide-free due to thorough scouting, has produced record yields and record economic returns, researchers with the University of
Arkansas System Division of Agriculture reported.
The 60-acre precision-leveled field farmed by Johnny and Linda Smith produced a Rice Research Verification Program, or RRVP, record of 252 bushels per acre in the 2014 growing season. That figure is well above the state average record yield of 168 bushels, set in 2013.
The Rice Research Verification Program is an on-farm demonstration of all the research-based recommendations developed by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture for the purpose of increasing the profitability of rice production in Arkansas – the nation’s top rice grower.
Working with the Smiths during the 2014 growing season were Ralph Mazzanti, extension rice verification coordinator, and Gus Wilson, Chicot County Extension staff chair, both with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“The production cost of this field was about $600 an acre, which led to a return to the grower of $800 per acre,” Mazzanti said. “While a high yield number typically results in a positive outcome, the return per acre is the true measure of success.”
A big part of this success was linked to pest scouting, Wilson said.
The total herbicide cost for this field was only $54 an acre — $22 per acre less than the 2014 program average of $76,” Wilson said. A good reason for this lower number was that herbicides with multiple modes of action were used for weed control and each herbicide was activated by a timely rainfall,” he said, adding that “there were no fungicide or insecticide applications, since none of the insect pests reached threshold levels that would have an economic impact