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By Ryan McGeeneyU of A System Division of AgricultureAug. 9, 2016
(Newsrooms: with art at https://www.flickr.com/photos/uacescomm/albums/72157671095180460)
STUTTGART, Ark. — The ability to make public commodity seed varieties more available
to Arkansas farmers took a great stride forward this week as the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture dedicated and opened its new Foundation Seed Facility
Division of Agriculture administrators, faculty and employees hosted a crowd that
included state and local legislators, growers and representatives of the agricultural
industry for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours Tuesday afternoon.
Mark Cochran, University of Arkansas System vice president for Agriculture, said it
was time to bring seed processing into the 21st century for one of the nation’s leading agricultural states.
“It was time to replace something from the 1950’s,” Cochran said, noting the aging
of the division’s original seed facility.
The $8.6 million facility will be part of the Rice Research and Extension Center.
Glenn Bathke, program director at the center, said the new facility will be key in
making varieties of rice, soybean and wheat foundation seeds, developed by Division
of Agriculture researchers, available to seed companies for purchase and licensing.
The facility will manage the certified foundation seeds produced by the Division of
Agriculture, which require inspections throughout the entire process, from the field
to the point of sale, Bathke said. The facility will be capable of processing as much
as 250 bushels of seed an hour, including pre-cleaning, cleaning, sizing and other
steps in ensuring the high quality of as many as 25 varieties of seed each year.
The new facility features a 6,419-square-foot warehousing area, a nearly 3,330-square-foot
conditioning area and a 1,835-square-foot business area. The bulk storage area includes
20 bins with a capacity of 26,000 bushels, enabling operators to dry and store as
many as 20 different crop varieties at one time. The facility’s belt conveyors can
move 2,000 bushels an hour under one roof.
Mark Waldrip, U of A System Board of Trustees member and seed company owner, said
he was impressed by Cochran’s willingness to see the construction of the new facility
through, noting several hurdles along the way.
“Mark (Cochran) was never put off in this whole process,” Waldrip said. “He has really
done the legwork to bring the people together to make this project possible. And for
that, we commend him.”
“We’ll be able to handle more varieties as well, so we can keep our seed portfolio
updated much more effectively,” Bathke said.
Moery, chairman of Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. He explained how the
Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board uses its funds to help the rice industry
grow and how it has contributed to the foundation seed plant.
“These funds provide a unique opportunity for Arkansas to build on an already world
class rice research program,” he said. “The board has always made variety development
Tours of the facility will be included as part of the 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo, taking
place Wednesday, Aug. 10, based at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart.
For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo, contact your local Cooperative
Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.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 AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com