The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) is the statewide research component of the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Its faculty researchers are assigned to campuses across the state. The AAES itself consists of five research and extension centers (RECs) and six research stations strategically located around Arkansas.
In 1888, a year after Congress approved the Hatch Act to support university-based agricultural experiment stations in each state, the Arkansas General Assembly accepted the federal government’s financial support to establish the AAES at the university’s campus in Fayetteville (Washington County). Albert E. Menke, a chemistry professor, took office as station director with a staff consisting of a botanist, two chemists, a biologist, an entomologist, a horticulturist, and a veterinarian. Their facilities consisted of what Menke described as “three acres in orchard, three acres in cultivation, forty acres untilled, a pair of antediluvian mules and a tumble-down shed.”
In the next 120 years, the AAES grew into a statewide entity supervising agricultural research as part of the nation’s system of land-grant colleges. According to its mission statement, the purpose of the AAES “is to generate, interpret and communicate information and technology for use by individuals, families, communities and businesses.” It researches issues affecting families, communities, and natural resources associated with Arkansas agriculture on behalf of the state’s farmers, food processors, and related industries.
Many of the approximately 200 scientists with research faculty appointments at the AAES also have teaching appointments at affiliated campuses. Their research and teaching responsibilities include plant and animal production and processing; environmental issues; food safety and security; forest resources; human, family, and community development; and human nutrition and health.
Many AAES faculty members also have appointments with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES), the other component of the Division of Agriculture, which provides technology transfer and educational services for division stakeholders. AAES researchers also work closely on projects with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and pursue major research efforts with USDA financial support.
The AAES is led by the station director/associate vice president for agriculture research, who reports to the University of Arkansas System’s vice president for agriculture. AAES departments that report to the AAES director also serve as academic departments for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, as well as the School of Forest Resources of the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). The departments are Agricultural and Extension Education; Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness; Animal Science; Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences; Entomology; Food Science; Horticulture; Human Environmental Sciences; Plant Pathology; and Poultry Science.
The five research and extension centers are the Arkansas Agricultural REC in Fayetteville, the Northeast REC in Keiser (Mississippi County), the Southeast REC in Monticello (Drew County), the Southwest REC in Hope (Hempstead County), and the Rice REC near Stuttgart (Arkansas County). Its six research stations are Livestock and Forestry Branch Station in Batesville (Independence County), Pine Tree Branch Station in Colt (St. Francis County), Lon Mann Cotton Research Station in Marianna (Lee County), Rohwer Research Station in Desha County, Fruit Research Station in Clarksville (Johnson County), and Vegetable Research Station in Alma (Crawford County). Other units of the AAES are the Arkansas Forest Resources Center in Monticello, the Soil Testing Laboratory in Marianna, and the Arkansas State University Research Unit in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
For additional information:
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. http://aaes.uark.edu (accessed December 18, 2008).
Strausberg, Stephen F. A Century of Research. Fayetteville: Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Arkansas, 1989.
David S. Edmark
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station