UACES Facebook Agriculture awards honor leadership, accomplishments in research and extension
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Awards honor leadership, accomplishments in research, extension, teaching 

By U of A System Division of Agriculture
Jan. 13, 2017

Fast Facts:

  • Annual awards honor outstanding achievement throughout the Division of Agriculture
  • More than 20 patents were issued to Division of Agriculture researchers in 2016 

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ROGERS, Ark. — Outstanding efforts in research, education, support and other categories within the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture were recognized Friday at the Agriculture Awards Luncheon. 

2017 Division of Agriculture Awards

The annual event, held this year at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Rogers, highlights achievements that positively affect both the industry of agriculture throughout the state, region and beyond, but the internal efforts of the Division of Agriculture as well. 

"It is truly a pleasure to begin the new year by recognizing the hard work being done by our faculty within the Division of Agriculture," said Dr. Mark Cochran, vice president-agriculture for the University of Arkansas System, and head of the Division of Agriculture. "It's a great time of year to take stock of the achievements of our colleagues and see the breadth and depth of work being for stakeholders across Arkansas." 

Recipients of the professional support awards included Cindi Brownmiller, a 16-year veteran of the Division of Agriculture as a program associate; Linda Pate, an administrative manager for the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering; Lance Maples, a maintenance coordinator fro the Department of Food Science; and Diane Cunningham, an administrative support specialist who has served in numerous notable capacities in Clarendon throughout her 39-year career with the Division of Agriculture. 

Three awards within the Dale Bumpers College were presented for excellence in advising, teaching and overall faculty professionalism. Kelly Way, an associate professor in the Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation Program and assistant director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences, received the Bumpers College Alumni Society Outstanding Advising Award. Mary Cathleen Savin, who developed four of the five courses she now teaches for the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, received the Jack G. Justus Award for Teaching Excellence.

Michael Richardson, a turfrass scientist recognized for developing one of the best teaching and research programs in the country since joining the faculty in 1998, received the Spitze Land Grant University Faculty Award for Excellence.

The Spitze Land Grant University Faculty Award for Excellence recognizes meritorious and comprehensive scholarly performance in the areas of academic responsibility unique to the Land Grant mission: teaching and advising, research and publication, extension and public service, and participation in professional associations and faculty governance. Tenured faculty members with at least 10 years of continuous service with the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences or the Division of Agriculture are eligible for consideration.

Division of Agriculture researchers were also recognized for more than 20 patents issued over the preceding year, including nine patents for new grape, blackberry and nectarine varieties issued to Distinguished Professor of Horticulture John R. Clark (five of those patents are shared with farm foreman-instructor James N. Moore).

Finally, the John W. White Awards, for which the annual ceremony is typically known, were awarded to four individuals and one team.

Professor Jason Norsworthy, who holds the Elms Farming Chair of Weed Science in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, received the John W. White Outstanding Research Award for his work focusing on the short- and long-term impact of Mid-South production practices on weed resistance to herbicides, along with strategies to mitigate resistance. He has also done extensive research on assessing the risk of off-target movement of herbicides, and developing strategies that minimize these risks.

Don Edgar, associate professor of agricultural education in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology, received the John W. White Outstanding Teaching Award. Edgar co-authored the textbook Agricultural Mechanics and Technology Systems (2016) and has authored or co-authored 25 refereed journal articles in multiple outlets, as well as authoring or co-authoring and presenting 67 peer-reviewed conference paper and poster presentations.

 Associate professor and extension pesticide safety education specialist J. Ples Spradley received the John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty Award for his work with the Arkansas Pesticide Safety Education Program, which he coordinates. The program is credited with instructing more than 25,000 people in adopting improved protective measures for themselves, their coworkers, the general public and the environment while using pesticides effectively and economically for controlling pests.

Carla Hadley, a family and consumer sciences county agent in Miller County, received the John W. White Outstanding County Extension Educator Award. Hadley is widely known as an agent who works tirelessly to provide an extremely well-balanced education program for her county, and who works well with other agencies to provide the best available resources for residents there.

The John W. White Outstanding Team Award was bestowed upon the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Variety Testing Program. The program provides unbiased information about the adaptability and performance of varieties in Arkansas’ diverse environments. Over the past three decades, the program has evaluated more than 12,000 cultivars, providing growers the best possible chance to succeed in challenging markets.

John W. White Awards for outstanding teaching, research and extension service are named for the U of A System's first vice president for agriculture when the Division of Agriculture was made a statewide unit of the U of A System in 1959.

For more information about the John W. White Awards or the Division of Agriculture, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons 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 Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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