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Listen to our latest episode!
That desire to share what’s good in your world is the driver behind Experience Arkansas
Agriculture, a multi-agency campaign led by the Southern Risk Management Education
Center, or SRMEC, and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
May 10, 2021
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
(Newsrooms: Note dating in 7th graf, images available- https://flic.kr/s/aHsmVy3ahM )
(LITTLE ROCK — Picture this: 20 minutes into your U-pick orchard visit you spot it
— the perfect Arkansas summer peach and an adorable farm dog. A couple of clicks later
and your peach, the pooch and your smiling face are all over Instagram.
The program aims to leverage consumer interest in local foods, strengthen the connections
between consumers and sources of their food and help promote Arkansas agriculture,
agritourism and other ag-related entrepreneurship.
“We want Arkansans and visitors from all over to brag about their ag experiences in
Arkansas, whether it was watching Arkansas-bred horses at Oaklawn, enjoying tastings
along the Arkansas Wine Trail or hitting that hole in one on any one of the state’s
wonderfully manicured golf courses,” said Ron Rainey, professor-agricultural economics
for the Division of Agriculture and leader of SMREC. “We hope to enrich awareness
and opportunities for Arkansans to enjoy and understand the rich diversity of offerings
that agriculture provides, including tourism venues, commodity production, and value-added
Plans for the campaign were announced April 29 at a soft launch at the Cooperative
Extension Service headquarters in Little Rock. Presenters included Arkansas Secretary
of Agriculture Wes Ward and John McMinn, director of commodity activities and economics
at Arkansas Farm Bureau.
“As our largest industry, agriculture contributes more than $21 billion to the state’s
economy annually and provides one of every six jobs,” Ward said. “It touches every
corner of our state and impacts the lives of every citizen, every day. Sharing the
story of Arkansas agriculture will not only connect the public to our producers, but
also truly showcase the diverse ways agriculture serves all our communities.”
“One way or another, we are all part of agriculture,” McMinn said. “Sometimes agriculture
isn’t put in the most positive light. You can find a lot of misinformation on the
internet. I want to do the best I can to promote Arkansas agriculture in a positive
Logan Duvall, owner of Me and McGee Market in North Little Rock and host of the Arkansas
PBS series “Good Roots,” shared a preview of the first episode of Experience Arkansas
Agriculture, which featured Wye Mountain Flowers and Berries Farms.
With the pandemic causing disruptions in food and other supplies, “We haven’t had
the desire to eat local until COVID,” he said. “We cannot miss the opportunity to
get out in front of getting people to shop local. That’s what we have the capacity
to do in this room: explode Arkansas local food.”
Of this effort, Logan said, “It’s going to be huge and positive. People have got their
ears up. They’re perked up and waiting for this.”
An array of activities is planned to promote the more than 1,500 farms and 110 farmers
markets across Arkansas. This campaign will launch with a web site and social media
via Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. To learn more about this campaign, visit the website — going live May 12 — https://aragex.uada.edu or @experiencearkansasagriculture on Facebook.
To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative
Extension Service agent or visit 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.
About the Southern Risk Management Education Center
Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) is delivered through four regional centers that provide grant funding and
leadership within their regions. The four regional centers include, the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (Southern), the University of Nebraska (North Central), the University of Delaware (Northeast), and Washington State University (Western).
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