Family & Consumers
Helping Benton County citizens enhance their quality of life through education is
the goal of the Family & Consumer Sciences program. Individuals and families receive
practical and reliable research-based information through programs and educational
resources aimed at making their life better, healthier and safer. Family & consumer
sciences programs provide education across the lifespan to help Benton County residents
improve their lives. Programs on nutrition, health and physical activity help individuals
choose and prepare for good health, including food safety and consumer skills. Individual
learn about simple changes they can make in their lives and homes to stay healthy,
active and independent. Family life programs involve cultivating healthy relationships
and parenting skills to raise responsible children. Financial management skills education
helps individuals achieve financial goals, manage debt and plan for their future.
Programs also provide activities families can do to teach children how to manage money
and develop good financial habits at an early age.
Benton County Family & Consumer Sciences programs include:
- Healthy Eating with MyPlate
- SNAP-Ed – Smart Nutrition Active People
- Food Safety, ServSafe, Food Preservation
- Wellness Classes - Strong Women & Men, Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fit in 10
- Health issues education - diabetes, heart health, arthritis and aging issues
- Be MedWise Arkansas and Healthy Homes
- Family Life - Marriage Garden, Parenting Journey, Personal Journey, Managing Stress,
Getting Our Hearts Right
- Child Development - See the World Thru My Eyes
- Child Care Provider training - The Best Care and Guiding Children Successfully
- Consumer Protection Education and Identity Theft
- Small Steps to Health & Wealth
- Managing Resources - saving, spending plans, budgeting, debtor education
Photo above: Food preservation workshop participants making salsa.
Benton County Extension Homemakers Council
Benton County Extension Homemakers Clubs are young homemakers, working moms, grandmothers, and retired men and women striving
to better ourselves, our family and our community.
The mission is to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of living through:
Being an EHC member means belonging to one of the largest adult volunteer organizations in
Arkansas. In Benton County, there are 12 clubs and 2 project groups with over 175
members. Members plan their programs and meet together in homes, churches, or community
buildings to learn, grow, develop friendships and have fun. If you are interested
in becoming a member or starting a club, contact the Benton County Extension office
Photo above: Benton County Extension Homemakers Council Logo.
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle depends on important factors such as physical activity
and healthy eating. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) reaches
limited-resource families in Benton County. Participants who graduate make healthier
food choices and better manage their food resources, reducing food insecurity. For
more information about the EFNEP Program in Benton County contact Celia Boon, FCS
Agent, at the Benton County Office.
Beginning in 2014, EFNEP classes in Benton County will be conducted in English and
Spanish. To be enrolled in these, please call and speak to our bilingual County Extension Agent to see if you qualify.
Photo above: Cathy Love presenting certificates to EFNEP kids program.
Urban and commercial horticulture are important components of Benton County agriculture.
Commercial producers, lawn/landscape companies, and home gardeners alike utilize the
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Soil testing, plant disease
and insect diagnostics, nematode sampling, and restricted use pesticide training are
services provided to producers through our office for little or no charge.
Locally grown vegetables and fruits are available on farm and through Farmers Markets
hosted by most cities in the county. Commercial vegetable and fruit production is
a relatively small percentage of total agriculture production in Benton County. However,
interest in locally sourced food increases yearly, as shown by increased vendor participation
and consumer attendance at farmer's markets. Many local restaurants also prefer to
purchase fruits and vegetables grown locally and are direct customers of area producers.
Benton County is located in Zone 6b. Vegetable crop availability is seasonal, and
some fresh produce is available approximately 10 months out of the year. Small fruit
production includes blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Common
tree fruits include apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries.
Installation and maintenance of annual and perennial landscape plantings and warm
and cool season turf beautify residential areas, municipal parks, green spaces, and commercial
properties. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Peel House, and Compton Gardens
are local gardening showpieces that attract thousands of tourists annually.
Benton County has some of the most active Master Gardeners in Arkansas. Master Gardeners
are members of the community who receive specialized training in all areas of horticulture.
To "repay" their training, Master Gardeners perform volunteer service on garden- related
projects designed to share horticultural information with the general public. Whether
conducting composting demonstrations at the farmer's market or hands-on activities
in school gardens, Benton County Master Gardeners serve our communities as they provide
thousands of volunteer hours each year. Applications to become a Master Gardener
are accepted in October, and training classes are held in January. If you are interested
in becoming a Master Gardener please call our office to be put on our application
Photo above: Tulips.
Livestock & Forage
Soil is the "common denominator" for all Benton County residents with an interest
in the production of berries, flowers, garden vegetables, hay and pasture, landscape
trees and shrubs, row crops or turf. Any resident, whether rural, urban, commercial,
farm, home, hobby, or professional, can utilize the University of Arkansas soil testing
service in order to: determine base soil fertility levels and; obtain recommendations
for making seasonal nutrient applications, or alleviating nutrient deficiencies. Attached
is a document which outlines the procedure for collecting an accurate soil sample.
Guidelines for submitting a soil sample
Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT) classes are offered each year to agriculture producers
who want to receive a license to purchase and apply restricted use pesticides. There
is a fee for this program. Please call our office to RSVP for an upcoming class.
Photo above: Cattle
Benton County 4-H
Opportunities available to Benton County 4-H Members:
- Teen Leader Program - Members ages 13-19 and have been a member for at least a year
can apply to join. To join you must have turned in a record book for judging, complete
and application and interview process.
- Livestock Judging
- Consumer Judging
- Food Bowl
- Livestock Skills
- Beef Quiz Bowl
- Project Workshops
- Community Service Projects
- And More!!!
Have questions or need more information on 4-H? Contact Jessica Street or Janice Shofner (479-271-1060) or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com
Benton County 4-H Record Books - The following links are for pages 2-10 of the Record
Book Report Form in a word document. Rules, page 1 and additional Information can
be found on the State 4-H Record Book Site.
Photo above: 4-H Clover
In Northwest Arkansas twenty one jurisdictions and the University of Arkansas decided
to work together in response to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater
regulations around stormwater. These regulations require stormwater management plans
that address 6 different control measures. The Cooperative Extension Service, the
public education branch of the University of Arkansas, helps the communities by providing
services for 3 of the measures that include public education, involvement, and trainings.
This includes conducting erosion prevention conferences, employee education programs,
youth programs, storm drain art projects, stream clean ups, outreach to civil groups,
and partnering with local watershed organizations.
if you are interested in the wide variety of water education/pollution prevention
programs that we have available, please contact the county office and ask to speak
with Trish or Linda; they would be glad to help.
If you would like to find more information on Extension Stormwater Programs, click
Photo above: 4-H youth sitting on top of a recently stenciled storm drain, "Rain Only, Drains to Creek"