Division of Agriculture dedicates new foundation seed facility in advance of 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Aug. 9, 2016
- New facility capable of cleaning, sorting and storing dozens of varieties of rice, soybean and wheat foundation seeds
- Facility tours will be part of 2016 Rice Expo in Stuttgart
(Newsrooms: with art at https://www.flickr.com/photos/uacescomm/albums/72157671095180460)
STUTTGART, Ark. — The ability to make public commodity seed varieties more available to Arkansas farmers took a great stride forward this week as the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture dedicated and opened its new Foundation Seed Facility in Stuttgart.
Division of Agriculture administrators, faculty and employees hosted a crowd that included state and local legislators, growers and representatives of the agricultural industry for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours Tuesday afternoon.
Mark Cochran, University of Arkansas System vice president for Agriculture, said it was time to bring seed processing into the 21st century for one of the nation’s leading agricultural states.
“It was time to replace something from the 1950’s,” Cochran said, noting the aging of the division’s original seed facility.
The $8.6 million facility will be part of the Rice Research and Extension Center. Glenn Bathke, program director at the center, said the new facility will be key in making varieties of rice, soybean and wheat foundation seeds, developed by Division of Agriculture researchers, available to seed companies for purchase and licensing.
The facility will manage the certified foundation seeds produced by the Division of Agriculture, which require inspections throughout the entire process, from the field to the point of sale, Bathke said. The facility will be capable of processing as much as 250 bushels of seed an hour, including pre-cleaning, cleaning, sizing and other steps in ensuring the high quality of as many as 25 varieties of seed each year.
The new facility features a 6,419-square-foot warehousing area, a nearly 3,330-square-foot conditioning area and a 1,835-square-foot business area. The bulk storage area includes 20 bins with a capacity of 26,000 bushels, enabling operators to dry and store as many as 20 different crop varieties at one time. The facility’s belt conveyors can move 2,000 bushels an hour under one roof.
Mark Waldrip, U of A System Board of Trustees member and seed company owner, said he was impressed by Cochran’s willingness to see the construction of the new facility through, noting several hurdles along the way.
“Mark (Cochran) was never put off in this whole process,” Waldrip said. “He has really done the legwork to bring the people together to make this project possible. And for that, we commend him.”
“We’ll be able to handle more varieties as well, so we can keep our seed portfolio updated much more effectively,” Bathke said.
Moery, chairman of Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. He explained how the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board uses its funds to help the rice industry grow and how it has contributed to the foundation seed plant.
“These funds provide a unique opportunity for Arkansas to build on an already world class rice research program,” he said. “The board has always made variety development a priority.”
Tours of the facility will be included as part of the 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo, taking place Wednesday, Aug. 10, based at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart.
For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services 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.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service