Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
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Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
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November is a month when the weather in Arkansas starts to really get serious about
preparing us for winter and – ugh – cold weather. We had killing frosts the other
day, followed naturally by a week of days in the 80s so that you really never know
what to put on in the morning. But among the freeze-one-week, heat-stroke-the-next
episodes are those crisp, clear and refreshing days that make living in our state
such a blessing, at least four or five days a year anyway.
We are also entering the season when we evaluate “how we did” in our work with AIMS
reporting completed back in early October, followed by reviews of the county extension
impact statements. There are some interesting ones and, yes, I am reading them. We
have also nominated each other for various recognitions and Dec. 4, we will have our
annual conference in Little Rock to recognize length of service, extension excellence
awards, and the many other external honors accumulated during the year by our colleagues.
Please know that recognizing and nominating peers is a distinct privilege, and something
I consider a professional duty. I know that many of you are doing this already, and
I have also recently appointed a committee, led by Dr. Stacey McCullough, to work
year-round in identifying colleagues who merit recognition, opportunities for recognition,
and to make sure an appropriate nomination is submitted. I appreciate Stacey and others
for taking on this rewarding challenge.
Kudos time – one of Ples Spradley’s favorite words, which I stole and use now. Kudos
to Aaron Cato and Joe Black in Entomology. Aaron won first place and Joe second place
in their respective national graduate student competitions at the Entomological Society
of America meeting recently. Both are advised by Dr. Gus Lorenz, and both are going
to make a huge difference in science in the future.
Kudos to Les Walz and Britt Talent and others for helping the St. Joseph Center in
North Little Rock pull off a very successful homesteading event, patterned on the
conferences held in Cleveland County over the years. It was standing room only at
the meat canning (Michelle Carter) and cheese making (JoAnn Vann) classes. Where else
are you going to hear this but Extension and the Blue Letter? (Editor’s note: except
Conversations with Cartwright)
Kudos to Joshua Rodgers of Howard County 4-H who completed service as one of six national
STEM ambassadors. Outstanding. We need more Joshua Howards and 4-H’ers in our society
today. Speaking of 4-H again, kudos to Bradley County. The 4-H Livestock Judging Team
of Samantha Clanton, Abby Johnson, Madison McGhee and Lupe Martinez with volunteer
coach Taylor Gwin won the American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City
against 16 other states. This is a first ever for an Arkansas team, so KUDOS.
Not to forget but the Bradley County Forestry Team that we mentioned as winning the
nationals last year; they did it again this year, two in a row – kudos. Kudos to all
the young people who participated, or competed, at the Arkansas State Fair this fall.
Ralph Shoptaw and staff put on an outstanding fair this year, but he reminded me that
it was really all for these young people, and they showed up and made the fair again
what it is. After watching them in and out of the show rings and learning events,
I certainly agree. Kudos to all of our Extension staff, with a special kudos to Chelsey
Ahrens, Allen Davis, Sherri Sanders, Jesse Bocksnick, J.J. Pitman and our many county
agents for working so hard to help Arkansas youth have such a rewarding experience.
It was a mind-boggling time.
And kudos to Amanda Perez for hitting the ground running on the Produce Safety Rule
program statewide – impressive start. For everybody else that I have forgotten to
say kudos to, sorry but I appreciate you and your hard work.
Final reminder that November is open enrollment month for our health care benefits.
Please make your decisions before Nov. 30 and get this back to the provider(s). It
is important. I appreciate our HR staff for keeping us informed of all the changes
coming from the UA System with regard to insurance and retirement – all things being
equal, it is much better to be informed than not.
Finally, I sincerely appreciate the hard work and professionalism of Matt Brown. Matt
came on board back in July and has worked tirelessly on many complex and evolving
problems. His is a challenging role, at a challenging time, and Matt handles everything
so very well. Thanks Matt.
– Dr. Rick Cartwright
Alyssa Huber joined APAC in May of 2017, just a few days after graduating from Henderson
State University. Alyssa has her bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science,
with a specialization in Foods and Nutrition.
Alyssa got her start with the Cooperative Extension Service and APAC as an administrative
specialist. Five months later, she began her new position as a program technician.
With a strong customer service background, Alyssa will be happy to assist you in any
way possible. She is committed to strengthening Arkansas small businesses.
Debra Garcia came to APAC from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission where
she was a grants manager for the Community Development Grant Block program. Debra
is a PCED (Professional Community and Economic Developer) and a member of the Arkansas
Economic Developers and Chamber Executives. She has experience in grants management,
economic development and planning and zoning and also in assisting contractors in
registration for SAM.gov, securing DUNS numbers and assisting with requirements pertaining
to the Davis-Bacon Labor Laws.
She is an Arkansas native and resides in Little Rock with her husband, Robert.
Arkansas was represented well at the 2017 National Extension Association for Family
and Consumer Science Conference, “Harvesting Opportunities in NEAFCS,” in Omaha, Nebraska,
Oct. 16-19. Eight county Family and Consumer Science agents, two FCS specialists,
two spouses and Dr. Martha Ray Sartor attended the conference.
Concurrent session presentations included Dr. Lisa Washburn, “Enhancing Extension’s
Readiness to Implement a ‘PSE’ Approach to Positive Youth Development for Health.”
Dr. Jennifer Conner, Mary Ann Kizer, Leigh Ann Bullington and Dr. Washburn presented
“Leveraging Extension Resources and Using the Community Coalition Action Theory (CATT)
to Build and Strengthen Community Health.”
Award winners included:
Facilitated by Cooperative Extension and USDA Rural Development, two regions in Arkansas
have begun work to develop and implement economic development plans that build on
regional assets and comparative economic strengths. The Northeast Arkansas Economic
Development Coalition consists of Clay, Craighead, Greene, Lawrence, Poinsett and
Randolph counties. Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant,
Jefferson and Lincoln counties belong to the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development
The Stronger Economies Together, a SET, planning process in each region has begun
with civic forums to allow stakeholders to explore and discuss the region’s strengths,
challenges and opportunities. After the civic forums, there will be four additional
planning sessions, as well as followup support. Through the program, each region is
To learn more about the program and view progress for each region, visit www.uaex.uada.edu/SET.
On Oct. 24-25, more than 280 fourth-grade students at Hackler Intermediate school
in Baxter County participated in Arkansas Farm to You. This exhibit gave students
an opportunity to explore the interactive, walk-through display from the farm and
through the body. Students learned about Arkansas foods and how their bodies use those
foods as fuel for being active.
The exhibit consisted of 10 stations, with Mountain Home High School students teaching
about agricultural and health adventures, including Farmer Dale’s Farm, Milk Processing
Plant and Market Café, Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine, Muscle, Bone and Skin.
Groups of eight to 10 students spent about five minutes at each station participating
in activities and learning about the relationship between agriculture, food and health.
The National 4-H Dairy Conference was held in Madison, Wisconsin, on Oct. 1-4. Julie
Griffin of Benton County and Tanner Riddle of Van Buren County were selected to represent
Arkansas at the conference and were provided an expense-paid trip through the Department
of Animal Science. Julie and Tanner were able to partake in a variety of tours including
ABS Global, Hoard’s Dairyman publishing firm and dairy farm, World Dairy Expo and
to various dairy producer farms. They also participated in hands-on seminars with
topics including artificial insemination and making ice cream and cheese. Julie served
on the head table committee and introduced one of the speakers, and Tanner served
on the transportation committee.
Julie is the daughter of Jim and Jackie Griffin of Siloam Springs. Tanner is the son
of Jason and Gina Riddle of Damascus. Next year’s National 4-H Dairy Conference will
be held Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Cooperative Extension Service agents spent a day presenting to a sellout crowd Nov.
4 at the Arkansas Urban Homesteading Conference held at the St. Joseph Center in North
Homesteading – with its focus on sustainability – has become a hot topic in recent
years, and in Arkansas, the concept has caught on thanks to the annual homesteading
conferences begun by the Cleveland County Herald and the county extension office.
The Nov. 4 event was the first homesteading conference with a focus on urban audiences.
“With several hundred attendees at the event, every session was standing-room-only,”
said Beth Phelps, Ouachita District Director. “The event provided lots of visibility
Michelle Carter, Bradley County, did a session on food preservation focusing on canning
meat. Randy Forst, Pulaski County, covered raised bed gardening. Janet Carson gave
a presentation on edible landscapes. Les Walz, Cleveland County, talked about do-it-yourself
high tunnels and hoop houses. JoAnn Vann, Clark County, showed conference-goers how
to make cheese at home. Erica Williams and Blanca Hernandez, Pulaski County, had 4-H
Amanda Perez, of Agriculture and Natural Resources, had an education display on the
new Produce Safety rule.
Bradley County represented Arkansas at the American Royal 4-H Livestock Judging Contest
on Oct. 26 in Kansas City. Sixteen different states competed in the contest, and Arkansas
came out on top. This is the first time a team from Arkansas has won this contest.
Contest participants judged 10 classes consisting of steers, heifers, hogs, lambs
and goats. In addition, they gave six sets of reasons. The all-girl team consists
of Samantha Clanton, Abby Johnson, Madison McGhee and Lupe Martinez, coached by Taylor Gwin.
October 2017 will be the close of the term of Arkansas’ National 4-H STEM Ambassador
Joshua Rodgers. Rodgers of Howard County was one of six ambassadors from across the country.
He spent the last three years participating in National Youth Science Day and other
This year, National Youth Science Day, or NYSD, was conducted at PS 21 elementary
school in Brooklyn, New York. The one-day event began with a “pep rally” of famous
scientists, including NASA astronaut and former 4-H’er Peggy Whitson.
Joshua’s role included facilitating youth in the “Incredible Wearables” challenge.
Students in small groups were given a challenge in which they had to create a wearable
fitness tracker that accurately tracked steps, heart rate and pulse. Some difficulties
the youth faced were design of the tracker, securing it to the body and making sure
the tracker was logging accurate data. One member of each group was the “athlete”
who participated in aerobic activities and wore the tracker; the other group members
were responsible for design or data collection. After the first trial, the groups
were able to optimize or redesign the trackers before completion of the challenge.
The ambassadors also met with donors from Lockheed Martin, HughesNet and Google, just
to name a few.
Unfortunately, the National STEM Ambassador program will not be renewed for the following
year. How- ever, the National 4-H Council will continue working with the donors
to provide STEM activities for 4-H’ers around the country.
The Monroe County Master Gardeners held their Fall Seminar on Oct. 14 with approximately
65 people in attendance. This year’s seminar, themed “Christmas in October,” was a
wonderful pre-Christmas event for all those in attendance.
With just 15 members and the help of three county agents, it took all hands on deck
to put together a seminar described as “one of the best Master Gardener events we’ve
attended” by a participant. Judy Nash, president of the Monroe County Master Gardeners,
said, “We are proud of our little county and wanted to exceed any expectations of
what a small town seminar might be.”
Attendees enjoyed a full-course meal prepared by the Monroe County Master Gardeners.
The event’s educational focus was guest speakers Blann Britton and Chris Norwood.
Britton, a gardening hobbyist from Crawfordsville, raises more than 400 roses and
600 zinnias at his home, among other projects. He offered an abundance of gardening
advice, along with a Q&A session.
Norwood, vice president of floral operations at Tipton & Hurst, created before the
guests over a dozen astounding holiday decorative pieces from materials supplied straight
from the gardens and lawns of the Monroe County Master Gardeners. His creations became
the most desired door prizes of the day. From a fine feast and numerous door prizes
to fresh ideas for your garden and the holiday season, no one went home empty handed.
Social media can be a great place to find new projects to try or interesting ways
to make your life better. One of the most popular topics people find are quick and
easy recipes. Some of our agents have created short videos that can be shared through
Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest. Extension programs like SNAP-Ed and EFNEP
provide wonderful information on healthy and inexpensive meal prep. That information
can be shared easily on social media where our main demographic already searches for
Agents like Addie Wilson of Ouachita County have used their mobile device to create
energetic and informative videos showing ideas for simple meals. Others like SNAP-Ed
program assistant Hollie Davis of Pulaski County have taken advantage of the video
studio at the state office. The studio has a working kitchen set that allows one of
our videographers to help produce a high quality video to share on social media. If
you feel like you can handle it on your own, Ricky Blair or Kerry Rodtnick will make
sure you have what you need to produce the video by yourself.
Below are links to two videos Davis recently shot within the studio.
On Oct. 18, the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, APAC, welcomed more than 60 small
business owners and community leaders to a workshop with Emily Harman, director of
the Office of Small Business for the Navy. Attendees heard from the Department of
the Navy on upcoming contracting opportunities with the Navy and Marine Corps. Last
fiscal year, the Department of the Navy awarded $25 million in contracts to Arkansas-based
small businesses, $8.75 million in the city of Little Rock alone. The small business
workshop was part of Little Rock’s Navy Week.
APAC program manager Melanie Berman shared with attendees the many no-cost services
the technical assistance center provides to small businesses. APAC is funded in part
by a cooperative agreement from the Defense Logistics Agency with support from Cooperative
Extension Service. APAC has offices in Bentonville as well as at the Little Rock State
If you know of any small businesses in your county looking to grow through government
contracting, APAC will be happy to help. Contact APAC with your request: firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-671-2390.
Skillathons were held during the Arkansas State Fair to test exhibitor’s knowledge.
In the Sheep, Beef, Goat and Swine skillathons, participants were divided into junior
or senior age divisions. In each division, participants were required to complete
a quiz, identify breeds, identify feeds, identify animal body parts, identify retail
or wholesale meat cuts and identify equipment. The top three winners received a ribbon
and prize money, and the winners received belt buckles.
Sheep Skillathon Winners
1st – Addison Kennon, Stone County
2nd – Will Martin, Norfork FFA
3rd – Vallie Yancey, Madison County
1st – Alisun Watson, Benton County
2nd – Dustin Kendrick, Boone County
3rd – Thane Stidham, Crawford County
Beef Skillathon Winners
1st – Savannah Jackson, Howard County
2nd – Lea Ellison Phelps, Grant County
3rd – Jaden Tweedy, Randolph County
1st – Nick Pohlman, Washington County
2nd – Hayden Hyman, Miller County
3rd – Baylee Mangrum, Greene County
Goat Skillathon Winners
1st – Brayden Mooney, Van Buren County
2nd – Kamryn Fulton, Union County
3rd – Logan Pruitt, Stone County
1st – Bryce McWilliams, Greenbrier FFA
2nd – Jenna Frederick, Sebastian County
3rd – Madison Dickey, Greenbrier FFA
Swine Skillathon Winners
1st – Reese Mitchell, Taylor FFA
2nd – Addison Kennon, Stone County
3rd – Reid Wingert, White County
1st – Taylor Richey, Mountain Home FFA
2nd – Tate Rodgers, Beebe FFA
3rd – Ian Ruegsegger, Norfork FFA
It’s Open Enrollment Time!
How do I enroll or make changes? Medical, Dental, Vision, Flexible Spending Account
(FSA), Optional Long-Term Disability: Go to www.uaex.uada.edu/OpenEnrollment, click
the Open Enrollment Forms tab and select the appropriate form. You must re-enroll
in an FSA every year in which you wish to continue this benefit. The form(s) should
be sent to HR – by fax (501-671-2251), email or in person. The deadline for our office’s
receipt of the form is 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.
Are Your Beneficiaries Up to Date?!
You can view your designated life insurance beneficiaries at any time in CEDAR. Go
to the CEDAR Link and log in: http://cedar.uada.edu and then click on HR: Your Personnel
Records and then Display Matches by Name. Review form(s) Group Benefits Enrollment
Form or Group Benefits Change Form for the most recently named beneficiary.
Your retirement plan beneficiaries are maintained by your plan sponsor. If you are
enrolled in the UA Retirement Plan, simply log into your TIAA and/or Fidelity account
to update your beneficiary on-line, or call TIAA, www.tiaa.org 1-800-842-2776 / Fidelity,
www.fidelity.com 1-800-343-0860. If you participate in the state retirement plan,
APERS, beneficiary forms are available at www.apers.org or call 1-501-682-7800.
The Arkansas State Fair Livestock Sale of Champions was held on Friday, Oct. 20, in
Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. Arkansas’ junior livestock exhibitors received scholarship
awards from the individual or organization bidding the highest amount for their grand
champion or reserve grand champion livestock. The scholarships go to:
Grand Champion Steer – Whitney Walker of Prairie Grove FFA – $18,000 – Arkansas Farm
Bureau plus $1,200 from Beef Brigade, for a total of $19,200
Reserve Grand Champion Steer – Samuel Tillery of Saline County 4-H – $13,000 – Arkansas
Cattlemen’s Association and Beef Brigade
Grand Champion Market Hog – Katie Head of Greene County 4-H – $9,000 –Blue Ribbon
Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog – Jessica Griffin of Greene County 4-H and Greene
County Tech FFA – $7,000 – Blue Ribbon Campaign
Grand Champion Market Lamb – Kinder Harlow of Prairie Grove FFA - $6,250 – Arkansas
Farm Bureau Insurance
Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb – Kaylie Stone of Gurdon FFA – $3,500 – Blue Ribbon
Grand Champion Market Goat – Ty Finch of Buffalo Island Central FFA – $7,000 – Arkansas
Farm Bureau Insurance
Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat – Kaylie Stone of Gurdon FFA – Did Not Sell
Still making student loan payments? As a Cooperative Extension employee, you may be
eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF forgives the
remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly
payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying
Qualifying employers include:
For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid webpage on the program at
Daniel Latus of the Batesville 4-H Club has collected more than 220 gently used stuffed
animals to benefit young patients at White River Medical Center.
Daniel presented the stuffed animals to “Doc” Spurlin, who is pastoral care chaplain
at the hospital. Spurlin will distribute the animals to four different locales in
the hospital: the pediatric floor, lab, ICU and emergency room. The stuffed animals
are given out to young patients who are at the hospital to give comfort during their
Daniel asked 4-H clubs in the county to help with the drive. He was able to use his
contact, George Latus, WRMC laundry manager, to wash and sterilize the stuffed animals
before they were placed in circulation. Daniel selected this community service project
because he realized it would be beneficial to the entire county.
f you have stuffed animals you would like to donate to Daniel for his community service
project, you may drop them off at the Independence County Extension Office at 1770
Myers Street in Batesville or call 870-793-8840.
More than 225 10th-grade students participated in “Get Real, Here’s the Deal” classes
and an interactive exhibit at the Wynne High School 10th-grade academies on Oct. 27.
Assisted by nearly 60 business and community leaders, the students faced adult financial
issues as they negotiated the exhibit.
Sherry Breckenridge, district parent coordinator and collaborator, stated: “You know
a program is successful when teachers, students, parents and members of the community
request to expand and repeat (the program) before the event is even over. A teacher
emailed to say that students who are seniors this year were so impressed they also
want to participate.”
Plans are underway to reach 11th- and 12th-grade students before the school year is
for Month Ending October 31, 2017
Demonstrating Conservation Practices Benefitting Wildlife, Water Quality and Farm
Economics on Working Lands
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Project/Testing Protocol Attachment A-26
Wheat Research Verification Program
Wheat Promotion Board
Provide an Enhanced Understanding of the Interactions of Management Practices and
Composting Process of In-Vessel Composters
Building Capacity for Watershed Leadership and Management in Twelve Mississippi River
University of Wisconsin-Extension
2018 National Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit
Agricultural Marketing Service - USDA
Drew County 4H Program
Heart of Arkansas United Way
Total Awards for October 2017
Please welcome the following:
Extension says goodbye to:
University of Arkansas, United States Department of Agriculture, and County Governments
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.