June 12, 2020
Virtual tour offers up-close look at conservation efforts at northwest Arkansas farm
By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- June 23 virtual field trip to showcase Arkansas Discovery Farm in Elkins
- Virtual tour to be broadcast via Zoom; no charge to attend
- Register at https://bit.ly/Registration-Marley-Discovery-Farm-Protecting-Water-Resources-VFT.
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LITTLE ROCK — Jeff and Marsha Marley have implemented conservation measures at their poultry and beef farm in Elkins to protect and conserve water resources. They use grassed waterways, aerated pastures, and farm ponds that help reduce nutrient runoff — just a few of the efforts documented through their participation in the Arkansas Discovery Farms program.
A virtual tour of the Marley Farm will be available free online to anyone interested in learning about how the Marleys implemented conservation efforts while maintaining a profitable farm. The tour is part of the Arkansas Soil & Water Conservation Virtual Field Trip Series funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service, and hosted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
The one-hour virtual tour will be available as a webinar on the Zoom online platform, and it will be streamed on Facebook Live! The tour will begin at 10 a.m. June 23. To register, visit https://bit.ly/Registration-Marley-Discovery-Farm-Protecting-Water-Resources-VFT. There is no cost to register or participate.
The Marley farm is in the Beaver Reservoir Watershed, which provides drinking water for nearly half a million people in the region.
James McCarty, environmental quality manager with the Beaver Water District, will discuss how the Marley Farm’s conservation efforts help the Beaver Water District maintain safe, affordable drinking water for the region.
Andrew Sharpley, distinguished professor in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s department of crop, soil and environmental sciences, will also share information about the Arkansas Discovery Farm program.
Participants will see how Discovery Farms use state-of-the-science equipment to collect water samples for analysis.
The tour is an effort of both the research and extension arms of the Division of Agriculture, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.
For people not able to view the virtual tour as it is broadcast, a recording will be available on the Division of Agriculture’s YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/2MQmLW1.
The field trip is part of the Arkansas Soil & Water Conservation Virtual Field Trip Series. It focuses on the conservation benefits researchers have developed concerning water quality, irrigation water use, climate change, soil health, profitability and sustainability through their partnership with farmers on selected farms, including some farmers involved in the Arkansas Discovery Farms Program.
The USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service provides funding to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to integrate the efforts of the Arkansas Discovery Farms and the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance. The goal is to educate a statewide network of participants through a series of no-cost virtual research-based, interactive demonstrations and educational experiences.
More information about the Arkansas Soil & Water Conservation Virtual Field Trip Series is available at https://bit.ly/NRCS-AR-Soil-and-Water-VFT-Webpage.
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 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.
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Director, Communications Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service