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April 26, 2023
By Ryan McGeeneyU of A System Division of Agriculture
(395 words)(Newsrooms: With file art of McWhirt)
LITTLE ROCK — The American Society for Horticulture Science has recognized a Cooperative
Extension Service horticulturist for her extensive public education and outreach efforts.
Amanda McWhirt, extension fruit and vegetable horticulture specialist for the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will receive the ASHS Professional Early
Career Award, specifically for “excellence and outstanding contributions to extension
or outreach of horticulture science or horticulture-related disciplines.”
There are four categories for the early career award. In addition to the award for
extension and outreach, three other individuals are recognized each year for academic
instruction, commercial and professional consulting and research and innovation, all
within the field of horticulture. Nominees are only considered for seven years after
completion of their final academic degrees.
McWhirt joined the Division of Agriculture in 2016 as an assistant professor and extension
specialist, shortly after completing her Ph.D. in crop science and agroecology at
North Carolina State University. In addition to her outreach and education efforts
across Arkansas, she conducts fruit and vegetable research at the Division of Agriculture’s
Fruit Research Station in Clarksville, the Vegetable Research Station in Kibler and
“I was aware that I’d been nominated, but it wasn’t really on my radar,” McWhirt said.
“Of course, it’s always nice to be recognized by your peers.”
McWhirt was nominated by Wayne Mackay, chair of the Division of Agriculture’s Horticulture
Department. In his nominating letter to ASHS, Mackay described McWhirt’s work with
the Cooperative Extension Service as “extremely impactful,” detailing her efforts
in creating more than 22 webinars and 75 online videos that have been viewed more
than 100,000 times. She has also trained “hundreds of agents and thousands of growers”
in strawberry, blueberry and blackberry production.
“Dr. McWhirt is active in traditional written and in-person extension activities,”
Mackay wrote. “Since 2016, she has authored or co-authored 23 extension publications,
given more than 120 extension talks, and developed over 30 in-person workshops that
have impacted more than 3,000 growers on a state, regional and national level. She
is also the state coordinator for the Arkansas SARE Program.”
SARE stands for Sustainable Agriculture Research Education.
“Dr. Amanda McWhirt truly embodies the best of ASHS and deserves recognition for her
excellence and outstanding contributions to extension and outreach in horticulture,”
McWhirt will receive the award at the ASHS national meeting in August. The meeting
will be held in Orlando, Florida.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. 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.
# # #
Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney firstname.lastname@example.org @Ryan_McG44 501-671-2120