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By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of AgricultureAug. 8, 2016
(Newsrooms: With filers of Windham at https://www.flickr.com/gp/uacescomm/6ka86B, https://www.flickr.com/gp/uacescomm/5B048V and Cartwright https://flic.kr/p/634nw5, and https://www.flickr.com/gp/uacescomm/623033 )
LITTLE ROCK – Tony Windham, director of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service,
is bringing to an end a 28-year career that redefined how ideas and innovations flowed
within the organization, strengthening local roots and making it better equipped to
serve the farmers, families and communities that are its constituents.
Windham announced his departure on Monday to take a position in the private sector.
His last day at extension will be Aug. 31.
Windham joined the organization in 1988 as an extension economist based in Little
Rock, helping farmers better manage their operations and marketing. He served as section
leader for agricultural economics and community development. In 2005 he rose to assistant
director of Community and Economic Development. In 2006, he oversaw both Community
and Economic Development and Agriculture and Natural Resources and was appointed interim
director of the organization in 2009. The following year, he was named associate vice
president for agriculture and director in 2010.
“As a new director I wanted to foster a more open atmosphere; an atmosphere that was
open to feedback, more open to innovation,” Windham said. “I wanted to give people
more opportunity to contribute to the organization and its future.”
Windham said he was proud that “we’ve maintained a very strong extension service in
Arkansas. Even with limited resources, we are one of the strongest in the country”
-- thanks to his commitment to maintaining the extension’s local roots in all 75 counties.
In his early days, Windham said one of his biggest challenges was gaining the trust
of county agents in the state, many of whom were unfamiliar with ag economics. “Being
able to gain their trust and then having them entrust me to speak to their farmers
was not an easy task,” he said. Winning them over, he said was one of his most satisfying
“Needless to say, this was a very difficult decision,” he said.
In a note to employees, he said, “I want to assure you that our organization is strong
and financially sound. We have a great administrative team in place. I am confident
in the ability and dedication of our faculty, agents and staff to continue our work
to improve the lives of Arkansans.”
Mark Cochran, vice president-Agriculture and head of the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture, said that Windham “had been key in helping the organization
grow in good times and enabling the extension service to weather tough times that
have caused some of our peer organizations to falter.”
“I want to thank Tony for his hard work, insights and dedication, not only to the
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, but also to the people of Arkansas,”
Following Windham’s announcement, Cochran appointed Rick Cartwright as interim director.
“Cartwright’s lifetime of experience in agriculture and the Cooperative Extension
Service make him ideal to take this leadership role,” Cochran said.
“Rick knows Arkansas and over the decades has earned the respect of those who work
in the agriculture industry, both in Arkansas and across the nation,” he said. “He’s
the right person at the right time.”
Cartwright had been associate director-agriculture and natural resources based at
the Cooperative Extension Service office in Little Rock. Cartwright was raised on
a farm in Stone County and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University
of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of California-Davis.
He joined the Division of Agriculture in 1992.
Cartwright is recognized around the globe for his work in rice diseases. As an administrator,
he is known as a mentor to agents, researchers and others.
“I’m humbled by this opportunity,” Cartwright said. “I will do my utmost to keep our
organization on a strong foundation so we can continue to serve our stakeholders.
Let’s get back to work.”
For more information about the Division of Agriculture, contact your county extension
office or visit www.uaex.uada.edu, aaes.uark.edu or uada.edu.
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.
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Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of Agriculture(501) email@example.com