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Extension Educational Programs & Services
Prairie County, Arkansas

The Cooperative Extension Service offers a host of educational programs and services.  If you do not see what you are looking for below, please contact our county Extension Office for assistance.

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Agriculture

The Prairie County Extension Service provides relevant and timely resources to producers and others who need information about agriculture. Researched-based information is disseminated to clientele through newsletters, emails, fact sheets, educational meetings, and one on one consultation. Program areas within agriculture include: Master Gardeners, Horticulture, Livestock, Row Crops, and Agricultural Marketing and Economics. 

  • Rice
    • Prairie County farmers produce 60,000 acres of rice annually. Production is gauged in bushels per acre (45 Lbs. = 1 bushel). Average yield is 165 bushel per acre or 7,425 lb./acre. Rice is broken into three types classed as long, medium, and short grain. Long grain is produced on a majority of the acreage. This type of rice has cooking characteristics of being flakey and grains are separate when cooked. Long grain is preferred by most Western cultures. Medium grain is grown on limited acreage and has cooking characteristics favored by Asian markets. Cooked medium grain will be sticky and grains will cling to each other. Medium grain is also used in prepared soups, Rice Crispi's®, and beer. Short grain is grown for specialty markets and cooking characteristics resemble "highly sticky rice" favored for consuming with chop sticks. Rice production adds $69 million to the county economy. 

    • 2016 Arkansas Rice Quick Facts
  • Corn
    • Prairie County produces 20,000 acres of feed grains. Corn makes up the majority of feed grain acreage with annual per acre yields of 175 bushel/acre (1 bushel=56 Lb.) Grain sorghum acreage will fluctuate yearly. Sorghum yields are 5,000 Lb./acre. All feed grains produced in Prairie County are wholly consumed in Arkansas by poultry and livestock industries. Feed grain production adds $25 million to the local economy. 

    • 2016 Arkansas Corn Quick Facts
  • Soybeans
    • Prairie County produces 115,000 acres of soybeans yearly. Average yield per acre is 45 bushels (60 Lb.=1 bushel). A majority of the acreage is irrigated to limit the effects of dry weather. The soybean seed itself has over 1,500 uses when processed. A large portion of the soybeans produced in Prairie County is processed into soybean oil (cooking oil), high protein animal feed (soybean meal) and hulls. The poultry and livestock industry consumes 65% of soybeans grown within Arkansas. Soybeans are also used in make-up produced by both Maybelline and Avon. The balance of production is exported to foreign countries using the Mississippi River to Gulf of Mexico ports. Soybean production adds $67 million to the local economy. 

    • 2016 Arkansas Soybean Quick Facts
  • Wheat
    • Wheat production in Prairie County will fluctuate from year to year. Main drivers are: fall weather pattern, commodity price, and input cost. Wheat acreage has been as high as 30,000 acres to a low of 2,500 acres. The type of wheat primarily grown in the county is soft red winter wheat used by the bakeries to make crackers. 

    • 2016 Wheat Update
    • Arkansas Wheat Cultivar Performance Tests 2014-2015
  • Livestock
    • Prairie County livestock owners are primarily small cow/calf herds, meat and dairy goats, and small flock poultry. The average cow /calf operation is 15 to 50. Producers take advantage of 300 Day Grazing program, free Brucellosis vaccinations, and pasture weed/fertility workshops. 

Local Agricultural Programs Include:

Prairie County Agriculture Quick Facts:

  • There are 445 farms with an average size of 618 acres.
  • 226 persons list principle occupation as a farmer.
  • Agricultural employment in all industries total 3,923 jobs.
  • Annual sales total $183 million split between crop sales ($150.5 million)  livestock ($5 million) and other farm income ($27.5 million).
  • Principle crops grown are soybean (109,447 acres), rice (60,049 acres), wheat (6,106 acres), corn (18,296 acres), grain sorghum (2,705 acres), and cotton (750 acres).
  • Cow calf operations make up a majority of the livestock with 3,453 head of animals.
  • Aquaculture sales total $4.5 million annually.
  • The forestry industry consists of 110,000 acres.
  • Prairie County 2015 Profile 
Prairie County Master Gardener

Master Gardeners

The Prairie County Master Gardener program was organized in 2001. Master Gardeners serve to extend the educational resources of the University of Arkansas through horticulture education and community service related to horticulture.  Eight Master Gardener (MG) projects have been established throughout the county.

Current Prairie County Master Gardner Projects:

  • Rhodes Park - DeValls Bluff
  • American Legion Monument- Hazen
  • City Hall - DeValls Bluff
  • Prairie County Fair Grounds
  • Hazen Welcome Sign
  • Gardening on the Grand Prairie
  • Prairie County Fair Exhibit
  • Hazen Beautification

Each project is managed by a chairperson who coordinates the project activities as it is maintained through out the year by controlling weeds, pruning plants and keeping the project attractive. Prairie County Master Gardeners contributed 1051.75 hours of volunteer time toward community beautification projects in 2015.    

Follow on Facebook or visit Arkansas Master Gardeners  for more information about the Master Gardener Program.

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Family and Consumer Science

Families are important to Extension and helping residents in Prairie County enhance their quality of life through education is the goal of Family and Consumer Science Programs (known as FCS).  Programs delivered are aimed at making life better, healthier, and safer for individuals, families and communities.  FCS program priority areas include:  Health and Wellness; Marriage, Parenting, and Family Life; Family and Consumer Economics; Nutrition, Food Safety, and Food Preservation; and Leadership Development.  

to receive tips for Raising Kids, Eating Right, Spending Smart, and Living Well.

Current FCS Programs Include:

  • Health and Wellness
    • Extension Get FitThe Extension Get Fit Program is a community-based group fitness program, developed based on strength training research, with a focus on mid-life and older adults. However, this program is appropriate and beneficial for adults of all ages. Modifications are offered for exercises in each of the structured routines in the program. The exercises may be tailored to each individual’s needs and fitness level. It is designed to increase strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
    • Fit in 10 - A research based exercise program that focuses on being active as we age and incorporates the four major types of activity needed: balance, endurance, strength, and stretching. With this program you can get your exercise in one of two ways: 10-minute chunks throughout the day or all at once.
    • Walk Across Arkansas - A statewide physical activity program that is held in the Spring to encourage participants to add regular exercise to their day.
    • Yoga for Kids - A program developed in Arkansas that helps students to improve their mental and physical fitness using yoga poses and deep breathing techniques. These simple exercises can be performed in a variety of settings, including classrooms, camps, and at home.
  • Marriage, Parenting, and Family Life
  • Nutrition, Food Safety, and Food Preservation Programs
    • Cooking Schools - Cooking at home is not only a money saver, but it also helps us keep track of portion sizes and ingredients.  It can be pretty fun too!  Check out our cooking schools and find out how you can learn to cook quick and simple meals that are healthy and delicious.
    • Freezer Friends - This new program is perfect for families on the go.  You will learn how to stock up on easy-prep meals that all you have to do is thaw and reheat.  Freezer cooking promotes family mealtime, saves time and money, and teaches individuals the basics of freezing foods.
    • Food Preservation Workshops - Hands-on classes that will teach you the basics of home canning, dehydrating, fermenting, and freezing foods.
    • SNAP ED - A partnership between the Cooperative Extension Service, DHS, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.  The SNAP-ED program provides nutrition education to food stamp recipients and other eligible low-income individuals and families including Head Start programs, senior citizen centers, commodity distribution sites, and public schools where 50% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
  • Extension Homemakers

    Extension Homemakers are very valuable volunteers in our county. The mission of Extension Homemaker Clubs is to empower individuals through continuing education, leadership development and community service. This mission is accomplished through club and county meetings where members are exposed to the latest information in family and consumer sciences and leadership. In addition to monthly meetings, Prairie County Extension Homemaker volunteers stay busy in their communities presenting educational programs and providing needed resources and services to various local organizations. Club projects include: donating to local food banks, volunteering for 4-H events, making quilts for soldiers overseas, making teaching dolls for the Arkansas Children's Hospital; and tons of other activities. Last year alone our Extension Homemakers volunteered almost 5,000 hours of community service to Prairie County! There are currently 7 active clubs with over 100 members. For more information about meetings, club membership or program benefits, contact the Prairie County Extension Office at 870-998-2614 or email smwilson@uaex.edu. You can also visit the website http://www.uaex.edu/health-living/extension-homemakers/default.aspx

    Extension Homemaker Club Monthly Meeting Dates and Locations:

    • Biscoe Club – Meet second Monday at 10:30 a.m. in various locations.
    • Busy Hands Club – Meet first Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in various locations.
    • Creative Arts Club – Meet Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in the DeValls Bluff Courthouse.
    • Idlewild Club – Meet second Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in various locations.
    • Oak Prairie Club – Meet first Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in various locations.
    • Prairie Piecemakers Club – Meet third Monday at 1:00 p.m. in the county fair building.
    • Couponistas Club -- Meet once a month as scheduled.

     

 

4-H Logo

4-H and Youth Development

The Prairie County Extension Service reaches youth ages 5-19 through the 4-H youth development program. 4-H is a fun and educational program that offers youth hands-on learning experiences in three mission areas: science, leadership/citizenship and healthy living. It's a great opportunity for youth to acquire knowledge and skills they can use the rest of their lives. To find out how you can get involved, contact the Prairie County Extension Office at 870-998-2614 or email smwilson@uaex.edu

4-H Club Monthly Meeting Dates and Locations:

Community Cloverbud Clubs (for youth ages 5-8):

  • Grand Prairie 4-H Club – Meets the fourth Saturday of the month at 10:00 a.m. at the fairgrounds, Hazen.
  • The Little 4-Hers Club – Meet first Monday of the month at 3:30 p.m. at Gospel Mission Church, Des Arc.

Community Junior/Senior Clubs (for youth ages 9-19):

  • Hickory House 4-H Club – Meet the second Sunday of the month at at 2:30 p.m. in Hickory Plains.
  • Trailblazers 4-H Club – Meet the first Saturday of the month at 10:00 a.m. at the fairgrounds, Hazen.

County-Wide Clubs:

  • Prairie County Teen Leader Club (for youth ages 14-19) – Meet the fourth Sunday of the month at 3:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds, Hazen.