UACES Facebook Johnson County 4-H agent named 2024 Arkansas Ag Woman of the Year
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Johnson County 4-H agent named 2024 Arkansas Ag Woman of the Year

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture

May 1, 2024

Fast Facts:

  • Arkansas Women in Agriculture honors Jeanie Rowbotham
  • Rowbotham, husband own Infinity Ranch in Johnson County with commercial turkey houses, cow/calf operation
  • Arkansas Women in Agriculture provides education, support network for women in industry

(770 words)
(Newsrooms: With photos)

LITTLE ROCK — As an underrepresented group within agriculture, it’s important for women to connect with their industry peers. Jeanie Rowbotham, Johnson County 4-H extension agent with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, was recently named 2024 Arkansas Ag Woman of the Year by Arkansas Women in Agriculture, an organization dedicated to educating and supporting women in the field.

SUPPORTING WOMEN IN AG — Jeanie Rowbotham said receiving the Arkansas Ag Woman of the Year award from the Arkansas Women in Agriculture organization has been a rewarding experience. Rowbotham has worked as an extension 4-H agent in Johnson County for 17 years. Evette Browning, past president of AWIA, hands Jeanie her award, flanked by vice president Michelle Horton. (Photo by Lindsey Holtzclaw, AWIA.)

Rowbotham and her husband, Theron, own and operate Infinity Ranch in rural Johnson County, where Rowbotham has worked as an extension 4-H agent since 2007. They have two children, Mae and Tate, and the family manages four commercial turkey houses contracted to Butterball as well as a commercial cow and calf operation.

Rowbotham said it has been rewarding to be recognized for her work in agriculture.

“Being named Ag Woman of the Year has been an amazing experience,” Rowbotham said. “My life’s work is positive youth development and agriculture education, so it is wonderful to be recognized — but more than that, I just appreciate being able to tell the story of Arkansas farmers and ranchers. So many women in this state are just like me: raising their families alongside livestock and working on the farm, while holding down an ag job in town and being leaders in their communities. I’m honored to represent Johnson County and all the incredible work happening here.”

The Arkansas Woman in Ag Award was established by Arkansas Women in Agriculture, or AWIA, in 2023 to celebrate the contributions of women to the agriculture industry. Evette Browning, past president of AWIA, said Rowbotham was chosen among 15 other applicants by the organization’s education committee.

“This committee invites two other leaders within the ag community to provide input and fair assessment,” Browning said. “Each applicant’s criteria are considered and ranked based on their stake in agriculture, significant impacts made, advocacy and the legacy they will leave for future generations. Many of our board members were excited to learn of Jeanie’s selection for this year’s Ag Woman of the Year Award, as they have been personally impacted by Jeanie’s dedicated service to agriculture.”

Rowbotham received the award on April 2 at the 2024 AWIA Conference, held in Hot Springs. Nearly 300 women from across the state gathered for seminars, classes and networking events during the two-day conference. After receiving her award, Rowbotham said she was approached by a college student from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“She is also involved in 4-H and wanted to come talk to me, and I think that’s why organizations like Arkansas Women in Agriculture are important, because you get to connect with like-minded women that you normally wouldn’t meet,” Rowbotham said. “Meeting women in the industry and making those connections is priceless. If you can see her, you can be her.”

4-H and farming runs in the family

Rowbotham was raised on a hobby farm outside of Harrison, Arkansas, and her husband is an eighth-generation farmer from Haggarville. Rowbotham received a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Arkansas Tech University. 

Rowbotham said she grew up very active in 4-H and has experienced the many benefits of the program.

“In my role as a 4-H extension agent, I provide human capital to the ag industry, and raising future ag leaders is something I take very seriously,” Rowbotham said. “I know this firsthand. I was once that 4-H member, and if it weren’t for the opportunities I was given in 4-H, I would not be the person I am today. I love providing that same experience for future generations.

“I will never lose sight of the fact that the most important thing I will ever raise on my farm is my children, but it's not exclusive to my farm — it is the same for your farm and household,” she said. “The driving force in my extension career is knowing the most important thing that my 4-H families will raise at their house is their children, too.”

Browning said Rowbotham exemplifies the values and mission of AWIA.

“Successfully juggling home life, a farm and a career is the true definition of a woman in agriculture,” Browning said.

Rowbotham said she encourages her peers to join AWIA for the guidance and support the organization offers.

“You can find mentors in the industry through professional networks, connect with women who share your passions and access opportunities to learn and grow in the industry,” she said. “You will get to meet and learn from diverse women from all around the state and build your tribe.”

To learn more about Arkansas Women in Agriculture, visit

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