UACES Facebook Greene County Extension breaks ground on new office in Paragould
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Greene County Extension breaks ground on new office in Paragould 

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture

April 21, 2023

Fast Facts:

  • Greene County Extension Office previously housed in Federal Building since 1979
  • Construction of new facility at 4410 Fairview Road estimated to complete in 2024
  • Extension has had presence in Greene County since 1912

(873 words)
(Newsrooms: With photos from the groundbreaking ceremony)

PARAGOULD, Ark. — Cooperative Extension Service staff, local elected officials and community members gathered April 19 at the future site of the new Greene County Extension Office in Paragould. The groundbreaking ceremony highlighted the collaboration between the city of Paragould and Greene County to support the mission of extension in the community.

BREAKING GROUND — Cooperative Extension Service staff, local elected officials and employees of the Bailey Construction Company and Fisher Arnold break ground at the future site of the new Greene County Extension Office in Paragould, Arkansas. The office had been previously been located in the Federal Building — which houses a U.S. Post Office — since 1979. (Rebekah Hall | Division of Agriculture photo.) 

Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon kicked off the ceremony, noting the significance of the project for “Greene County, for the extension office, for 4-H, for Master Gardeners, for our farming community and so many others, because this is going to be a structure that can be utilized by so many people.

“Anytime we can move forward with something like this in Greene County, it’s a monumental occasion,” McMillon said. “We love to see growth such as this.”

Lance Blythe, Greene County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the groundbreaking marks the realization of a longtime goal.

“I’ve had about 10 people pinch me today and go, is this really happening? After many years of hard work, perseverance and searching for a new location, it’s finally happening,” Blythe told attendees. “We’re so thankful, and we are humbled, by all the community support that we’ve received to reach this point in the process.”

Blythe said the extension office moved from its original location in the Greene County Court House to the Federal Building — which houses a U.S. Post Office — in 1979. The office moved to a temporary location in November 2022, where it will remain until construction is completed on the new facility at 4410 Fairview Road. Bailey Construction Company of Jonesboro began construction on the site two weeks ago, working on the build with architects from Fisher Arnold.

Blythe said construction is slated to be complete in just over a year. The new office will house five Division of Agriculture staff, as well as an additional county agent Blythe said he hopes to hire soon.

Jonathon Davis, justice of the peace for District 4 in Greene County, said that since he came into office in 2015, he and many other community stakeholders have been searching for a new location for the Greene County Extension Office, as well as the funds to support it.

“I’m reminded of all the times somebody got frustrated because this project just wasn’t moving on,” Davis said. “But as Aristotle said, ‘Patience is bitter, but its fruit is so sweet.’ So here we are today, after all of these years of trying to figure out this problem, and we’re going to have one of the greatest facilities of any extension office in the state of Arkansas on this beautiful piece of property.”

Blythe said the fruition of this project is due in part to the significant support the extension office receives from the City of Paragould.

“It’s kind of rare in extension where we not only have county support and Quorum Court support, but we’re also supported by the city of Paragould,” he said. “They help us with our agent salaries and with many projects in town. The city council is very supportive, so we’re really blessed in this community to have people with vision and who have the ability to work with one another.”

Bob Scott, senior associate vice president for agriculture and extension for the Division of Agriculture, said this collaboration is critical to the success of extension’s mission.

“I’m amazed at the support from Greene County, the city of Paragould and the quorum court, and really just on behalf of the Cooperative Extension Service, a big ‘thank you’ to Greene County,” Scott said. “Y’all are an excellent example of the partnerships that it takes, and without those partnerships, I don’t know what our extension service would look like.

“I know this building, to all of you guys, represents a working place, where samples can come in, you can come get help and have meetings,” he said. “To me, it represents support. And that’s what I’m going to take back to the extension office — the amazing support that I’ve seen.”

McMillon, Scott, Blythe and Davis, along with the county’s 10 other justices of the peace, as well as two contractors with Bailey Construction Company and two architects with Fisher Arnold, used shovels tied with ribbon to officially break ground on the site.

Blythe thanked 4-H volunteers, 4-H families and youth, Greene County Master Gardeners, the Extension Homemakers Council, agriculture producers, Arkansas Farm Bureau, retired extension employees, local agriculture industry professionals, local schools and individual homeowners and taxpayers for their support of extension.

“Their support in our educational mission has, with no doubt, had an influence on where we are today,” he said.

Blythe also noted that Greene County has been home to extension staff for more than 110 years, even before the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, which is the federal law that established a system of cooperative extension services associated with land-grant institutions.

“Some of you may not know, but we’ve had an extension presence in this county since 1912,” Blythe said. “The Smith-Lever Act wasn’t passed until 1914, but we had an extension agriculture person here two years prior to that. We’ve been here for a minute, and we want to be here for a long time to come.”

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:
Rebekah Hall