UACES Facebook Division of Agriculture’s Rohwer Station director honored with RCAS Distinguished Service Award
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March 13, 2020

Division of Agriculture’s Rohwer Station director honored with RCAS Distinguished Service Award

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Research center society honors Arkansas, NC State directors
  • Earnest has been Rohwer director since 1993

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Research Center Administrators Society has bestowed its 2020 Distinguished Service Awards to research center directors in Arkansas and North Carolina.

RESEARCH CENTER HONORS — RCAS President Ray Covington with 2020 Research Center Distinguished Service Award winners Jeff Chandler of NC State University, center, and Larry Earnest, U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, right. Covington is superintendent of the University of Georgia’s Superintendent Georgia Mountain REC. (Image by Vaughn Skinner)

Larry Earnest, director of the Rohwer Research Station for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, and RCAS Past President Jeff Chandler, director of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center for NC State University, were honored Jan. 28.

“These two gentlemen are pillars of the RCAS organization, providing leadership as officers and committee members while also being state hosts to the organization,” said Ray Covington, society president and director of the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center for the University of Georgia Extension. “As ambassadors for the RCAS organization and consummate professionals in their respective area, all of us with RCAS acknowledge their gift of service and are proud that they received this prestigious award."

Larry Earnest

Larry Earnest earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from the University of Arkansas at Monticello and a master’s in agronomy-weed science in 1991. He started as a research specialist at Rohwer in 1984 and was named station director in 1993. Rohwer is a 634-acre site in Desha County whose fields are primarily used for row-crop research.

“It was quite an honor, to say the least, and I was very surprised and blessed to be recognized by a great organization,” Earnest said. “Knowledge gained from professional presentations and personal information exchange across all facets of research, policies and management skills is priceless and benefits all land grant institutions. I would say the lifelong friendships garnered are the grand prize.”

Jean François Meullenet, senior associate vice president for agriculture-research and director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, said the award reflected Earnest’s hard work and dedication to the land grant research mission. 

“I’m very pleased to see Larry being honored by his peers. Coordinating with researchers, managing plots, facilities and field days, all while being an integral part of the local community, are just a few of the challenges that go into running a research station,” Meullenet said.

Jeff Chandler

Chandler earned a BS in animal science and master’s in crop science from North Carolina State. He served nearly five years for NC State Extension as an agent in Polk, then Wayne, counties. He was named assistant superintendent of the Cherry Research farm in 1999. In 2003, he was named superintendent of the Sandhill Research Station before being appointed to his current post in 2012 as director of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center. Chandler served as president of RCAS from 2017-2018.

"I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my peers with a Distinguished Service Award from RCAS,” he said. “I was totally surprised to receive this award!

“This organization has tremendous value for improving research station operations around the country,” Chandler said. “It is the only professional organization I am aware of that deals specifically with the innovative and efficient operation of research stations. Further, the membership of RCAS is a tremendous group of people that I have had the privilege to develop relationships with over the years."

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.


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.

About RCAS  

The Research Center Administrators Society is a national non-profit organization whose membership is comprised of agricultural research station managers, directors, university, college and USDA administrators.

To learn more about RCAS, visit

The society mission is to advance the acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge concerning the nature, use, improvement, and interrelationships of research center administration scientific research, and new technology.


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