Extension Educational Programs & Services
Washington 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.
Washington County Programs
To see specific program information, select the program title below.
Family and Consumer Science
Family and Consumer Science programs can help you put research based knowledge to work to improve your life. Washington County is one of the fastest growing counties in the region, while maintaining safe communities and a lower cost of living comparable to other similar sized communities.
We rank as the 2nd healthiest county in Arkansas with our many health care facilities, and beautiful clean parks and recreation areas for individuals to take advantage of. As with everything, we can improve on this. Our current adult obesity rate is 30% whereas it is only 25% nationwide. We also rank with the 2nd highest dollars given in SNAP benefits to help our families supplement their food purchasing. Extension educational programs are addressing these two issues to assist residents in making wise life choices so we can continue being one of the healthiest communities in Arkansas.
Washington County offers educational programs in the following areas:
- Personal Finance
- Get Real Here's the Deal
- College Budgeting 101
- Ready, Set, Graduate
- Family Finance
- Wills and Inheritance
- Family Budget workshops
- Money Matters
Nutrition & Health Matters
Washington County offers educational programs in the following areas:
Nutrition for all ages
Nutritional needs during pregnancy
Nutritional needs of pre-school children
Nutritional needs of school age children
Nutritional needs of adults
Nutrition facts for seniors
Special dietary needs
SNAP-Ed is the Smart Nutrition Active People program that brings resources to persons who may be eligible for the supplemental nutrition assistance program through DHS.
Cook Smart, Eat Smart cooking class series
Recipe resources to meet healthier eating goals
Pressure Canner for low acid foods
Water Bath for high acid foods
Green Cleaner recipes
Indoor Air Quality
Washington County offers educational programs in the following areas:
Marriage & Parenting
Child Care Providers training
Strong Men & Women
Fit in 10
Washington County Extension Homemakers
4-H Basic Information
The 4-H program is open to all youth ages 5-19. Local 4-H clubs meet in locations throughout the county. Youth education programs are available for organizations such as schools, day camps, home schooled groups, and after school programs.
- For more information on 4-H Clubs or youth education programs please e-mail Anna Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Extension Office at 479-444-1755
- Welcome to Washington County 4-H
- Register for 4-H Events Instructions - Becoming a 4-H member involves a paper enrollment form to verify attendance at the required club meetings and registration in 4honline.
- Washington County 4-H Club Guidelines
- Report on 4-H Club Meetingswordpdf (this form or club minutes are to be submitted after all 4-H club meetings)
- 4-H History, Opportunities, Arkansas 4-H Center
- 4-H Code of Conduct, Health Statement, Publications/Video Release
- How can I help Washington County 4-H? The Washington County 4-H Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Arkansas 4-H has a history you believe in and a future you can trust. You can help by sponsoring a 4-H trip or scholarship, donating items for a 4-H event or auction, or making an ongoing impact through naming the Washington County 4-H Foundation in your will.
Activities and Programs
- County 4-H Newsletter
- County 4-H Calendar
- County 4-H Ambassador Guidelines and Application form
- County 4-H Scholarship Guidelines and Application form
- County 4-H Parent and Adult Leaders Association Awards
- Form to report county activities - 4-H member lists 3 county activities participated in within the past 2 years
- 4-H Shirt design form - use this form to submit county shirt designs and help your club develop a club shirt design to submit for approval from the Extension Office
- 4-H County, District, & State O-Rama guidelines
- State 4-H Scholarships, State Ambassador Re-certification, Teen Star Application
- 4-H Record Books
Adult 4-H Volunteer Information
- Adult 4-H Volunteers are necessary for 4-H clubs and county events. Here are some Adult 4-H Volunteer Leader Position Descriptions.
- Contact Anna Goff at email@example.com or call 479-444-1755 to find out more regarding the paperwork and background checks needed to become a 4-H adult volunteer.
- Specific training is required annually for all adult 4-H volunteers as specified by the State 4-H Office. Adult 4-H Volunteer training workshops are announced in the 4-H newsletters, are part of Parent and Adult Leader Meetings, and training module packets are available at the Extension Office. Contact the Extension Office or Anna Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Were you involved as 4-H as a member, leader, or volunteer? We are searching for information on local 4-H alumni. Please help us learn more about your 4-H experience. How did 4-H impact your life? Would you possibly serve as a judge for an event? Contact Anna Goff at email@example.com or call 479-444-1755.
Below are resources for 4-H members, parents, and 4-H volunteers
Contact the Extension Office at 479-444-1755 or e-mail Anna Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on scheduling a youth educational program on the following topics:
- Water Quality, Embryology
- ATV Safety
- Plant Science
- Soil Science
- Other STEM programs
Poultry - According to the 2007 Ag Census, Washington County is home to 224 layer farms which house a total of 1.5 million hens, 173 broiler farms with an annual production of 20.5 million broilers, and 63 turkey farms with an annual production of 1.3 million turkeys. Although they produce a large amount of poultry products, these farms are primarily operated in the county as family farms. Extension specialists can help producers with specific management issues on these farms such as light intensity, water quality, air quality, energy efficiency and other issues. The university also operates its own research farm. Follow the red link to information on the state extension site. Small flock producers are welcome to contact the Extension office to help find answers to their questions on bird health, housing, and production.
Beef Cattle - There are around 52,000 beef cows in Washington County. These cattle are raised on family farms. It generally takes between 2-5 acres for each adult female per year depending on several factors. With the help of the state specialist staff, the Extension office can help cattle producers with questions on nutrition, diseases, reproduction, and general herd management. Follow the red link to fact sheets from the state office. Contact our office to schedule a farm visit.
Dairy Cattle - Although there aren't nearly as many dairy cattle or farmers in the county as there once were, there are still a few fine folks in the dairy business in Washington County. These are operated as small family farms.
Goats/Sheep - Small ruminant production has increased over the last several years in Washington County. The county had approximately 1,700 sheep and nearly 2,000 goats according to the most recent census. Hair type sheep seem to be well suited to our county and a large number of goat producers are successful in our county as well. Parasite and predator management are the two largest challenges for small ruminant producers in our area. Contact our office for information on performing fecal egg counts for your herd and general herd management questions or follow the red link to fact sheets on our state extension web site.
Equine - An estimated 4,800 head of ponies and horses find their homes on pastures in Washington County on 841 farms. Our local office can help with pasture recommendations for these animals and our state Extension veterinarians can help with horse health issues. Arkansas Extension also has a state equine specialist who conducts horsemanship clinics throughout the year.
Swine - Swine production is primarily for family use in Washington County or for production of show pigs. Contact our office if we can help with health issues, facility design, or other questions relating to local swine production.
Commercial Horticulture - Vegetable production has risen substantially in the county in recent years. Both large scale and small farmer's market type production. Contact our office for questions you may have related to large or small production challenges.
Pastures - The livestock industry in Northwest Arkansas is based upon our local ability for forage production and grazing animals on pasture. Contact our office for recommendations on planting rates, planting dates, varieties suited for our area, rotational grazing recommendations and more.
Hay - The 2007 Ag Census reports that over 77,000 acres in Washington County were harvested as cropland. The vast majority of these acres are in hay production. Contact our county office for recommendations on planting dates, planting rates, and varieties for our area.
Fertilizer - Your county extension office can help with fertilizer recommendations and with understanding your soil test results. Most of Washington County is designated as a "Nutrient Surplus Area" which means producers must have a Nutrient Management Plan prepared for their farm to apply fertilizers containing phosphorus. To have a plan prepared for your farm, contact the Washington County Conservation District at 479-442-4160. Contact the county extension office for information on being certified as a nutrient applicator if you are the person who will be doing the fertilizer applications.
Weeds - The Washington County office holds four or more Private Applicator classes each year for those ag producers wishing to obtain their license to purchase "Restricted Use" chemicals for weed control. Our office can help producers with weed identification, spray recommendations, and sprayer calibration. Contact our office to find out when the next Private Applicator class will be held.
Insect Pests - Insects can cause tremendous economic losses for local farmers. Proper pest identification is critical to choosing the most economic control measures. Contact the Extension office for insect identification, information on the life cycle, and recommended chemical and cultural controls, and pesticide safety. Also contact our office to attend training to receive your Private Applicator license to purchase "Restricted Use" insecticides.
Other - Other resources local farmers may want to take advantage of are the Environmental Quality Incentive Programs which are administered by the local Natural Resource Conservation Service. The Farm Service Agency also administers loan programs and crop insurance programs including insurance on pasture and hayland. Either of these offices can be reached by calling 479-442-4160.
Ponds - Ponds are an important resource in Northwest Arkansas. For help with pond design, soil suitability, and drainage area calculation, contact the local Natural Resource Conservation Service at 479-442-4160. For information on pond weed control, or fish stocking rates, click on the water quality link on this page. Feel free to contact our local office to schedule a site visit.
Streams - Northwest Arkansas is rich in water resources. The majority of Washington County either falls into the Beaver Lake watershed or the Illinois River watershed. Local farms do a great job of protecting streams in both of these watersheds. You can get a nutrient management plan for your farm to ensure your operation doesn't impact water quality by contacting the Washington County Conservation District at 479-442-4160.
Wells - see Farm Services below for information on testing the water quality in your water well.
Rainfall - Average annual rainfall for Washington County is around 45" per year with May being the wettest month on average.
Soil Testing- soil testing is a free service in Arkansas. Samples are sent to the lab through your local county extension service. Approximately a pint of soil is needed to represent a field, garden spot, flower bed, yard or other. Several sub-samples should be taken at a depth of 0-4" and then mixed together to provide a good average of the area sampled. Soil probes are available for use at the county extension office to aid in collecting a good sample.
Forage testing - The University of Arkansas Diagnostic lab conducts this service. Samples are sent through your local extension office. Hay, pasture, or silage samples are analyzed for moisture, crude protein, fiber content and TDN. Mineral tests are also available. A forage probe is available for use to collect a good sample. For more information on understanding your hay analysis click here.
Feed Analysis - Individual feedstuffs or mixed feeds can be tested for moisture, protein, ADF, NDF, TDN, NEl, and mineral content.
Litter Testing - Litter samples are analyzed for moisture, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash content through the U of A diagnostic lab. Samples submitted for a nutrient management plan should also be analyzed for water soluble phosphorus. Take a representative sample from the poultry house and bring in about a quart to the extension office.
Water Testing - The Arkansas Water Resources Lab performs mineral testing on water for irrigation, home use or livestock and poultry consumption. Samples for testing should be taken to the county extension office in a clean container. Bacterial testing is done through the county health department. For more information, see the water quality section on the page below. For help understanding your water test for livestock use, click here.
Rations for livestock - Rations for groups of livestock can be formulated based on results of forage and feed analyses or by using average figures for Arkansas.
Plant Disease testing - Fresh tissue samples of vegetables, trees, ornamental plants can be sent through the Extension office to the plant pathology lab. These should be brought to our office as soon as possible after removal from the plant or tree.
Water Quality Program Information
Northwest Arkansas has an abundance of high quality ground and surface water resources with much of Washington County in the Beaver Lake and Illinois River watersheds. Beaver Lake is the first of four reservoirs built along the White River and currently serves as the drinking water supply for more than 400,000 area residents while the Illinois River originates in Hogeye and flows into Oklahoma where it is designated as a Scenic River. A rapidly expanding urban population, the accompanying construction and increased impervious surfaces coupled with thriving industries and agricultural production can all have an impact on these important waterways.
Therefore, water quality education has become a priority in Washington County in recent decades. Extension program efforts emphasize voluntary pollution prevention practices that collectively protect and improve the quality of water resources on a regional scale. Examples of key efforts include presentations to gardening and civic groups, hands-on, experiential learning activities for youth, rain barrel building workshops, conferences for the construction community, design engineers and landscape architecture professionals, annual stormwater management trainings for municipal employees and the development of web resources including fact sheets, video podcasts and a "Greening Your Life" online course.
Stormwater Education Program
When it rains, snows or sleets in Arkansas, where does that water go? Does it soak into the ground? Does it sit in puddles until it evaporates? The water actually does both of those things, but some of the water will also flow over the land surface, heading downhill to the nearest ditch or stream. This is called stormwater runoff.
In cities and towns, the water cannot soak in through the pavement, rooftops, and concrete like it can into the soil. This means that there's more stormwater runoff in cities and that in forests and fields. The water flows off impervious surfaces such as driveways, rooftops, sidewalks, and parking lots, and usually flows straight into a storm drain. These openings along roads and in parking lots connect to pipes which carry the water directly to your local stream or lake.
For more information, visit our Stormwater Education page.
Or click on the "Water Quality Events" option below to see upcoming programs!
Lake Fayetteville is a sub-watershed of Lake Fayetteville-Clear Creek watershed which flows into the Illinois River and drains portions of Springdale, Fayetteville, and Washington County. Lake Fayetteville is listed by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality as impaired by bacteria, nutrients, and sediment. To view the Lake Fayetteville drainage area or see if you live within the watershed, click here. Find out more about the Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership.
- Improve water quality of impaired waters through input, education and outreach; This includes Lake Fayetteville- Increase stakeholder stewardship actions among residents of Lake Fayetteville Watershed
and inflow streams of Clear Creek and Hylton Branch
- Foster watershed ownership
- Identify and engage watershed landowners to increase knowledge, understanding, and implementation of best
management practices (BMP’s) and associated benefits
- Conduct property assessments and encourage landowner options to protect/improve runoff water
quality on their property
- Develop and promote new outreach material
- Increase capacity of the Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership (LFWP)- Document and report measurable results
- BMP education workshops for stakeholders and landowners
- Electronic formats: e-newsletters, video podcasts, interactive participation at focus group workshops and
- Property assessments (upon invitation) through site visits
- Increase impact of LFWP: update and diversify outreach materials, increase membership,
education on reaching new stakeholders and ensure longevity and effectiveness of organization
Please contact Colin G. Massey at email@example.com or call 479-444-1755 for a FREE home consulatation regarding water quality, free soil sampling for your lawn or garden, streambank erosion, flooding, or other agricultural or water quality issues.
The AWRC Water Quality Lab is certified or accredited by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for analyses of multiple constituents in water samples. For more information on their lab and services contact them at 479-575-4403
Down load the Arkansas Water Resources Center Water Quality Laboratory 2010 Analytical Cost Schedule for a listing of individual and package tests.
To determine the safety of drinking water for human consumption, please contact the Washington County Health Department at 3270 Wimberly Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72703 or 479-521-8181.
- You can find more detailed information about household water quality in our publication Improving Home Water Quality.
For help in interpreting the results of these reports or for other questions please contact the Washington County Extension office at 479-444-1755.
Small farm and ornamental ponds dot the landscape of Washington County. These ponds are used for livestock watering, aesthetics, and recreational fishing. The links below contain information developed at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Aquaculture/Fisheries Center, the Southern Region Aquaculture Center, USDA and elsewhere on approaches to the management of ponds primarily for recreational fishing and ornamental uses.
- Farm Pond Management Calendar
- Farm Pond Management for Recreational Fishing
- Ponds - Planning, Design and Construction
- Control of Clay Turbidity in Ponds
- Farm Pond Aeration
- Fertilization of Fish Ponds
- Liming Farm Ponds
- Understanding Your Fish Pond Water Analysis Report
Water Quality Events
- First News Title Goes Here
- NOV 24
- NOV 24
- First News Title Goes Here
- For More Information on Water Quality Programs, contact:
Landscape design is the conscious arrangement of outdoor space for human enjoyment and satisfaction. A well-designed home landscape is aesthetically pleasing and functional. It offers pleasure to the family, enhances the neighborhood, and adds to the property's resale value. With a little forethought and planning, you can organize your home site for maximum use and pleasure, and create a visual relationship between the house, its site, and the neighborhood.
The planning process, possibly the most important aspect of residential landscaping, is often neglected. We frequently see the evidence: a few scattered shade trees, overgrown foundation shrubs, a narrow concrete walk, and a fenced-in backyard. The resulting landscape rarely looks good, can be fairly expensive, and may not serve family needs. Good planning can save you time, effort, and money and can lead to a much more satisfying environment.
When you begin planning the landscape of your home grounds, think about the entire space and the overall effect you want to achieve. Don't limit your ideas to trees, shrubs, and grass. Consider a patio, deck, mailbox, screening wall, outdoor lighting, a new walk, or a parking area as possible landscape features.There are six basic steps to creating your landscape. If you follow them, the finished product will be a personal landscape that reflects your family's wants and needs and allows for growth and change in the future. Click on the Landscape Principles pdf file to learn more.
- Landscape Princples
Because you are reading this, you do not need to be convinced of the benefits of a healthy lawn. But, bear in mind that Northwest Arkansas lies in what turfgrass types call the transition zone. The practical description of the transition zone is an area where summer is often too hot for cool season grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass and tall fescue and winter is occasionally too cold for warm season grasses, which include Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass. Thus, this region's climate frequently makes lawn maintenance a challenge.
Listed below are publications written to help gardeners in NW Arkansan maintain healthier lawns.
- Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns - FSA2112
- Seeding a Lawn in Arkansas - FSA2113
- Establishing a Lawn from Sod - FSA2042
- Fertilizing Your Lawn - FSA2114
- Liming Your Lawn - FSA6134
- Lawn Mower Safety - FSA1005
- Mowing Your Lawn - FSA6023
- Test Your Soil for Plant Food and Lime Needs - FSA2121
- The Soil Test Report - FSA2153
- Understanding the Numbers on Your Soil Test Report - FSA2118
- Home Lawn Weed Control - FSA2109
- Bermudagrass Spring Dead Spot - FSA7551
- Rhizoctonia Large Patch Disease of Zoysiagrass and Bermudagrass - FSA7527
- Slime Molds - Landscape Curiosities - FSA7537
- Dollar Spot of Turfgrass in the Home Landscape - FSA7541
- Fairy Ring of Turfgrass - FSA7539
- Common Questions about Japanese Beetles in Arkansas - FSA7062
- Controlling the Eastern Mole - FSA9095
Vegetables & Fruits
Recommended Varieties for Fruit Production in the Home Garden
As we are in Northwest Arkansas, home of The University of Arkansas, which has a rich heritage in fruit breeding. The effort was begun by Dr. James N. Moore , Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1964. This effort continues under the direction of Dr. John R. Clark, Professor.
The program has released 14 blackberry, seven grape, two blueberry, three strawberry, five processing peach, three nectarine, one fresh-market peach, one dwarf ornamental nectarine and three ornamental peach varieties.
The program continues today with emphasis on these crops. The program is based at the Fruit Research Station at Clarksville , with testing of developments at the Southwest Research and Extension Center in Hope and the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville .
Output from the fruit breeding and fruit variety testing programs is used to develop lists of recommended fruit varieties for commercial fruit growers and homeowners in Arkansas. Select from the menu the type of fruit you would like to grow to find the fruit varieties recommended for use in homeowner plantings.
Choose a topic to answer questions about growing fruits and nuts.
Vegetable gardening can save money and be fun at the same time. What all is involved in planting a vegetable garden? Choose a topic to answer these and many more questions about vegetable gardening.
Vegetables and Herbs
Garden Diseases, Insects, & Weeds
Below is a list of the control recommendation publications available. Publications can be obtained by contacting the county Extension office or select a title below for an online version of the fact sheet.
Other Disease Related Information
- For composting information click here
- For composting information click here