UACES Facebook Former head of Division of Agriculture, Jim Martin, dies at 84
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Former head of Division of Agriculture, Jim Martin, dies at 84

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
June 6, 2017

Fast Facts:

  • Martin served at VP for Ag from 1975-1980
  • Helped the ag industry address environmental concerns in the late 70’s
  • Later served as president of the UA System

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LITTLE ROCK – Former Vice President for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, James “Jim” Martin, died Saturday, June 3, at his home in Decatur, Alabama. He was 84 years old.


Martin, who led the Division of Agriculture from 1975-1980, went on to become president of the University of Arkansas from 1980-1984, during which time he created the chancellorship position at UA Fayetteville. He had previously served as a faculty member at both the University of Maryland and Oklahoma State University, and as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1968-1975.

Rick Cartwright, interim associate vice president for agriculture-extension, said Martin arrived at the Division of Agriculture at a time when public interest in agriculture and the environment meant addressing many concerns that had previously been downplayed.

“Jim Martin marshaled the Division of Agriculture through some interesting times,” Cartwright said. “The environmental movement was at its start and the question arose for agriculture: Can the way we have been doing things be sustained? Can it co-exist with the environmental movement? This was all at the beginning of the sustainable agriculture movement.” 

Cartwright said Martin, along with Lloyd Warren, then director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, pushed to unify agricultural centers and programs statewide, including the concept of research and extension centers that would host Ph.D. faculty from both branches of the Division. 

“He was well respected for his agricultural leadership nationally and internationally,” Cartwright said. 

In 1984, Martin left the University of Arkansas System to return to his alma mater, Auburn University, where he served as the university’s 14th president until retiring in 1992. 

Martin had earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural management from Auburn in 1954, before earning a master’s degree in agricultural economics from North Carolina State University in 1956 and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Iowa State University in 1962. Martin also served two years in the U.S Armed Forces between earning his graduate degrees.


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 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. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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