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By Tracy CourageU of A System Division of Agriculture
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FAYETTEVILLE — For 100 years, the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center
has helped farmers meet the ever-evolving challenges of agriculture. The center’s
centennial was celebrated Friday, Oct. 11, by renaming it in honor of the late Milo
J. Shult, a longtime vice president for agriculture for the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture. During his time in Arkansas, Shult firmly established
the division as a leading voice for Arkansas agriculture.
“Milo Shult was a remarkable man with an incredible vision for research and extension,”
said Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System. “He led the
effort to develop and improve the division’s infrastructure throughout the state.
The Research and Extension Center here in Fayetteville underwent a major transformation
during Milo’s tenure. Renaming this center the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research
and Extension Center is a fitting tribute to Milo’s exemplary and impactful career.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson also cited Shult’s legacy in a written statement prepared for
“Under his leadership, the division became established as the premier agricultural
science location in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “During this time, the value of Arkansas
agricultural products also doubled, which is a testament to the incredible impact
Dr. Shult’s administration had on the state’s economy.”
Shult began his career at Texas A&M University as a wildlife specialist in Uvalde,
Texas, and later served as associate director of the Texas A&M University Agricultural
Extension Service in College Station. In 1992, he moved to Arkansas where he served
more than 18 years as the vice president for agriculture for the University of Arkansas
System, the longest term ever served in that role. He retired in 2011 and died in
July this year at age 75.
“Dad did know that this was going to happen,” Shult’s son, M.J. Shult, said of the
renaming and dedication. “I could hear the excitement in his voice, and I know he
was honored to have his work over those many years recognized.”
Shult remained devoted to the land grant system throughout his career. In Arkansas,
he coined the motto “Arkansas is our campus” to emphasize the division’s dedication
to improving the state’s agriculture and quality of life and the presence of research
and extension facilities in all 75 counties. The phrase is still used across the organization,
which he helped grow. During his tenure, Shult guided the construction of 18 new facilities
and renovation of seven others within the Division of Agriculture.
“He touched so many lives and so many programs,” said Mark Cochran, vice president
for agriculture for the University of Arkansas System. “He knew we couldn’t attract
world-class faculty without world-class facilities.”
Shult served on many state, regional and national committees. Among these, he served
as chair of the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics
Advisory Board, through which he advised the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Congress,
and land-grant colleges and universities on top national priorities and policies for
food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics. He was inducted
into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center is one of four research
and extension centers located around the state that are operated by the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. It is the main research complex for the
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the division’s research arm.
The center also provides educational and research facilities and resources for the
University of Arkansas’ Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.
The Washington County Extension Office and the Arkansas Archeological Survey are both
located at the center.
“For a century, this place has been known as a center for innovation in agriculture
and food research,” said Jean-François Meullenet, senior associate vice president
for agriculture-research and director of the experiment station. “From its very beginnings
in 1888, the mission of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station has been to conduct
research and achieve scientific discoveries that benefit Arkansas farmers.”
The center got its start in 1919 when 423 acres were purchased for agricultural research
and education. The same land has continuously served the needs of agriculture in Arkansas
and now includes 725 acres, centrally located near the University of Arkansas.
Meullenet said the center is needed now more than ever.
“As you know we are facing unprecedented challenges in agriculture to feed a rapidly
expanding world population,” he said. “We have to do this in the next 20 to 30 years
with ever-increasing production costs, a changing climate and with decreasing natural
resources such as land and water. To meet these challenges, innovation in agriculture
needs to be more intense than ever before in our history.”
Among the center’s milestones:
1921 - Work began at the farm with a series of soil fertility experiments that led
to three decades of research on crop rotations and fertilizer applications adjusted
for soil type. Advanced studies in these areas continue to today.
1928 - ARKsoy was released as the first soybean variety adapted to Arkansas growing
1951 - The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station hosted the “Chicken of Tomorrow”
contest that brought breeders, scientists and entrepreneurs together to meet the public
demand for economical, wholesome poultry products.
1961 - The cattle breeding program at the farm expanded to host regional beef cattle
1968 - The department of food science was created, and its pioneering work in specialty
crops post-harvest physiology and work on vegetable canning was nationally recognized.
1992 - The John K. Skeeles Poultry Health Laboratory was built and led to major developments
in vaccines and probiotics for the poultry industry.
2017 - The center became the headquarters of the Agricultural Experiment Station with
the completion of the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.
To learn about Extension Programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visitwww.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us 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: Tracy CourageDir. of Extension Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org