UACES Facebook Division of Agriculture to hold rural economic forums in Sharp, Fulton and Izard counties
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Division of Agriculture to hold rural economic forums in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties

By Ryan McGeeney 
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Feb. 7, 2019

Fast Facts:

  • Create Bridges aims to help rural communities develop their economic strengths
  • Three forums scheduled for February
  • No cost to attend

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LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Community and Economic Development Office, in cooperation with the 3Cs Create Bridges Regional Steering Committee, is hosting three community forums to gather information about community assets in the retail, tourism, entertainment and accommodations industries. 

“Create Bridges” is actually an acronym, which stands for “Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies.”

Julianne Dunn, extension instructor for economic development for the Division of Agriculture, said the program is intended to combine the input and experiences of community members with the expertise and guidance of experienced economic development experts.

“Create Bridges is designed to raise awareness and strengthen our retail and tourism industries,” Dunn said. “Forum participants will be encouraged to share their perspectives on what is already working well in these industries and identify the area’s greatest opportunities for growth and development.”

The forums will be held throughout February in the 3Cs region. The Regional Steering Committee welcomes anyone with a vested interest in retail and tourism to join in the discussion and share their perspectives. 

  • February 11: 6-8 pm at the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus, Weyerhaeuser Room, 183 College Dr., De Queen, AR 71832.
  • February 26: 5:30-7:30 pm. at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Educational Center, 425 Second St, Nashville, AR, 71852.
  • February 28: 5:30-7:30 pm, at the UA Cossatot Ashdown Campus, 1411 N Constitution Ave, Ashdown, AR 71822.  

The 3Cs Create Bridges Regional Steering Committee consists of representatives from Howard, Little River, and Sevier counties in the area’s business, government, non-profit and education fields. 

Create Bridges is a multi-state pilot program designed to help rural communities build their capacity for strengthening the retail, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors, which provide jobs and business opportunities that frequently boost rural economies. The program includes a community forum, a retail academy for regional leaders, a business and retention program, and an emphasis on identifying opportunities for workforce training and engaging the incumbent workforce. 

Dr. Stacey McCullough and Julianne Dunn, both with the Division of Agriculture, University of Kentucky’s Alison Davis, Oklahoma State University’s Dave Shideler and Sara Siems, and the Southern Rural Development Center’s Rachel Welborn and Grace Langford are all involved in developing the economic program.

Attendance to the forums is free. Registration is not required, but is strongly recommended, due to high interest. For more information about Create Bridges, visit; to register, contact Julianne Dunn at 501-671-2158 or

Follow the Cooperative Extension Service on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

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.

Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120