UACES Facebook Former Cooperative Extension Service director inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame
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March 28, 2022

Former Cooperative Extension Service director inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Rick Cartwright honored for rice pathology work, extension leadership
  • Inductees honored by peers for contributions to Arkansas agriculture

(587 words)
(Newsrooms: With additional art at

LITTLE ROCK — Former Cooperative Extension Service Director Rick Cartwright is among the latest crop of individuals to be inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame for their contributions to the state’s largest industry.

FIRST IN HIS CLASS — Rick Cartwright, former director of the Cooperative Extension Service, was one of six individuals inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame on March 25. (Division of Agriculture photo.)

Cartwright and five other honorees were inducted March 25 during a ceremony at Embassy Suites in Little Rock. The event had been postponed earlier due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a long two years, but it’s a wonderful day for Arkansas agriculture,” Butch Calhoun, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, told the crowd of more than 300. “We have an outstanding group of inductees from all areas of agriculture.”

The other inductees include:

  • Joe Don Greenwood of Hermitage, a longtime agriculture educator
  • The late Russell Roy Reynolds, longtime director of the Crossett Experimental Forest
  • Randy Veach of Manila, former Arkansas Farm Bureau president
  • Mark Waldrip of Moro, founder of Armor Seed Co.
  • Andrew Wargo III of Watson, longtime farm manager of Baxter Land Co.

Cartwright, an internationally known rice pathologist, joined the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in 1992. He served in numerous roles for both the Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture. He served as director for extension from 2016 to 2020, when he retired.

 “All of us at extension are thrilled to see him recognized for his contributions to Arkansas agriculture,” said Bob Scott, senior associate vice president for the Division of Agriculture and current director of the Cooperative Extension Service. “He was a tremendous researcher and an expert rice pathologist, and he was a mentor and friend to me and many others.”

Cartwright developed the scouting method and disease thresholds for Rice Sheath Blight and Rice Blast. He worked with infrared aerial photography to determine specific areas of rice fields infested with diseases. This concept of precision application saved countless trips across the field, helped increase farmer profitability and reduced disease resistance. His research extended to other crops as well.

“Dr. Cartwright built a long legacy of research and education that has been his life’s work,” Calhoun said. “He was an inspiration, a voice of reason and a staunch advocate for the role of extension work in improving Arkansas agriculture.”

Cartwright thanked his family and colleagues, many of whom were present at the event.

“Today’s recognition is a singular honor, and really it’s not about me as an individual, it’s about an awful lot of people who shaped me,” Cartwright said. “People talked about self-made men and women, but that’s not me. I was shaped by thousands. I accept this recognition on their behalf and honor those already inducted, quite a few who I have known and admired.

“I love agriculture, and I mean in the broadest sense of the culture of agriculture — and that’s the people of agriculture,” he said. “When you get older, you don’t remember everything, but you will not forget the people who changed your life and held you up. In summary, I thank you — the people of agriculture.”

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward congratulated the inductees on behalf of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who had designated March 21-27 as Arkansas Agricultural Week.

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, honors past and current leaders whose work has benefitted the farm industry, their communities and the economic development of the state.

With the newest inductees, there are now 175 honorees in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

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.

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Media contact:
Tracy Courage
Director of Communications
Cooperative Extension Service