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What is the Cooperative Extension Service?

Have you ever wondered what services the Cooperative Extension Service offers?

Hot Springs, Ark. – Have you ever wondered what services the Cooperative Extension Service offers?  How is the Cooperative Extension service associated with the University of Arkansas?  Where does all of the information come from?  How does the Cooperative Extension service benefit the residents of Garland County?

Our Mission - The Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas, helps people improve their lives through an educational process that uses research-based knowledge focused on issues and needs.

U of A-Division of Agriculture - Is dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans by generating knowledge through research and putting that knowledge to use through education.  Research is conducted in laboratories at the four university system campuses and at experiment station farms throughout the state.  The Cooperative Extension Service educational classrooms are not limited to bricks and mortar but are found in open fields, gardens, homes, and community offices. 

There are three main areas of research-based information and they are:  Agriculture/Natural Resources; Family and Consumer Sciences; and Youth Development.  The Garland County Cooperative Extension Service strives to meet the unique needs of each of our residents.

The following are just some of the services and information available through the Extension Office: 

Soil testing and moreMany gardeners know soil testing provides vital information to help with the gardening experience.  It is not just for vegetable gardens.  The management of lawns, pastures, shrubs, flower beds and orchards can be enhanced with soil testing every few years.  A soil test provides information about the pH, (a measure of acidity or alkalinity), nutrients, and a recommendation on the amount and kind of fertilizer and/or lime needed, if any. Each sample should be representative of the area being tested.  Bring enough soil in for us to fill a pint container.   We send it to our soil lab in Marianna and it usually takes 2-3 weeks to receive your results.  The soil you bring in must be just that – soil – our lab does not process potting medium. This is a free service. 

Water testing for a variety of purposes is offered through the Extension Office and is conducted by the Water Quality Laboratory at the University of Arkansas.  Packages are available for domestic water quality, livestock, irrigation, fish ponds, and poultry, as well as specific individual tests.  Costs are associated with these tests and vary according to the type of test you are needing to have done.  The tests start at $85 and go up. The water kit must be picked up at the Extension Office, and the kit comes with a heavy duty bottle, the mailing box, and instructions.  You then mail your sample and check directly to the Water Quality Lab, who performs the analysis and mails the results directly to you.  NOTE:  The water testing service is to determine component analysis only, it is not to determine if your water is safe to drink. 

We receive many calls regarding plant diseases, most of which we can usually identify; however, when necessary, we may send a sample of the diseased plant to our Plant Pathology Lab in Fayetteville for an analysis. 

If you have a question about any of the services that the Cooperative Extension Service offers, visit our website at and follow the links to a wealth of information from livestock to agriculture, to gardening, family and consumer science topics, exercise, etc.  You’re sure to find something of interest.   You may reach Jimmy Driggers at 501-623-6841. 


Master Gardener volunteers grow people!  Master Gardeners receive 40 hours of training in general horticulture from experts in their field.  Then, they volunteer at least 40 hours of their time in Master Gardener projects.  There are additional educational and social opportunities too.  For more information on becoming a Master Gardener call Allen Bates on 501-623-6841. 

EHC Information

Would you be interested in joining an existing Extension Homemaker’s Club?  Or better yet, would you and a group of your friends like to organize a club in your community?  For more information about the EHC program call Jessica Vincent at 501-623-6841. 

 4-H Information
If you’re between the ages of 5 and 19, you can join 4-H! We have a club for you, or you and a group of friends can organize a club of your own.  For more information on the 4-H program call Linda Bates at 501-623-6841. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

 By Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.  If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your Garland County Extension Office (501-623-6841) as soon as possible.  Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.