Welcome To The
Arkansas County, Arkansas
Cooperative Extension Service
We are part of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s statewide network and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Our mission is to provide research-based information through non-formal education to help all Arkansans improve their economic well-being and the quality of their lives. Whether it is agriculture, 4-H, health and living, or community development, the Arkansas County Extension Office is at your service!
Smart Water Usage on the Prairie
State and national water regulations are putting more emphasis on water conservation in row crop agriculture due to high water usage in crop production. Education of irrigation techniques is a way to help conserve water, promote agriculture sustain ability and help to optimize economic returns on the farm.
The PHAUCET (Pipe Hole and Universal Crown Evaluation Tool) irrigation program is a computer software application which designs and optimizes the irrigation pipe hole size so that fields are irrigated more uniformly, resulting in both water and fuel savings. This summer we worked with seven farms to demonstrate this program on over 3,000 acres. These acres were mostly comprised of hard to irrigate fields. The growers were looking for a way to more uniformly irrigate these fields to reduce water runoff and increase overall irrigation efficiency.
The PHAUCET program was an overwhelming success with all 7 producers planning to put all furrow irrigated crops into PHAUCET next year. For example, one field that had previously taken 47 hours to irrigate, PHAUCET reduced the time to 28 hours resulting in a savings of $328 in energy and 1,140,000 gallons water on one 98-acre field. Similar savings were noted on the other 600 acres across the farm. This program saves money and conserves millions of gallons of alluvial water at the same time.
Photo: Arkansas County Staff Chair Chuck Capps discusses Phaucett irrigation with a local farmer.
Home-Grown is Best
When purchasing fruit and vegetables, a farmers' market is the best source for consumers. Locally grown products are picked when perfectly ripened, which allows for enhanced taste, texture and aroma. Research has shown that vine-ripened produce is more nutritious than that found in the produce aisle of your local market. The Arkansas County Farmers Market (ACFM) was organized in 1986 with a majority of the members being retired individuals needing to supplement their income. One producer offers organically-grown produce and several have expanded to include home-preserved foods, baked products and crafts. The ACFM is certified through the Arkansas Department of Health to participate in the Arkansas WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. The ACFM has two locations for the convenience of customers county-wide. By offering alternate days between DeWitt and Stuttgart, producers have the option of selling at both markets, Monday through Saturday.
Photo: Vine-ripened produce was harvested just hours before coming to the Arkansas County Farmers Market.
STEM Connects Youth
Business leaders in Arkansas have indicated they cannot find science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent they need to stay competitive. To address this issue, Arkansas County 4-H conducted multiple workshops teaching basic concepts of STEM in a variety of ways to help prepare the next generation of leaders. In 2012 Arkansas County 4-H conducted a Walk in the Forest to expand the knowledge of science and technology. Youth were taught about forestry through hands-on activities that enabled youth to get outdoors, experience the woods to develop an understanding of why caring for America's forests is so important. Other workshops conducted included Global Positioning Systems, Incredible Edible Science, Introductory Robotics and Microscope Basics. STEM activities have developed an understanding of the importance of knowledge in these areas and fosters a growing desire for the use of science, technology engineering and math. Read more about Arkansas County 4-H and Youth Development.
Photo: Participants of Walk In The Forest explored the White River National Wildlife Refuge.
Community $ervice Pay$
Volunteering enables one to learn new skills and be active in the community, provides motivation and a sense of achievement while bringing together a diverse range of people. Arkansas County conducted approximately 230 workshops to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of living. Rural poverty remains a prevalent problem in America. Community service activities are important because they provide a tangible difference in rural communities. Programs were planned by Arkansas County Extension Homemakers focusing on issues that affect the community to include: a food drive, a school supply drive, construction of walker bags, lap robes, nap pad covers and curtains. Other programs were conducted on food safety, stretching food dollars, financial protection for Arkansas senior citizens, exercise for fall prevention and flexibility, as well as brain games to keep minds active. Read more about Arkansas County Family & Consumer Sciences programs.
Photo: Volunteers donated service for the community to provide 212 food items to a food pantry.
SNAP Out of Unhealthy Habits
In Arkansas County 5,207 persons receive SNAP benefits and 64% of elementary students receive free/reduced lunch. Of those elementary school students, 14.8% are overweight and 21.2% are obese. The adult obesity rate of the county is 36%. Research shows healthy diet and exercise helps maintain weight and lower risks for chronic diseases. Fifty-five SNAP-Ed events were conducted in Arkansas County. SNAP and commodity recipients, elementary students, and parents of young children were reached through 459 healthy lifestyle lessons. Key messages were healthy food choices, new ways to prepare commodity items, how foods affect the body's organs, and the importance of exercise. Programs were conducted at elementary schools, Department of Human Services, food pantries, health expos, commodity distribution sites, and young parents' group meetings.
Photo: Fun and healthy recipes were provided to children going back to school to support better eating habits for the school year.