Division of Agriculture presents faculty, staff awards

Jan. 7, 2011
Contact Information:

Fred Miller, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
479-575-5647, fmiller@uark.edu

Mary Hightower, Cooperative Extension Service
501-671-2117, mhightower@uaex.edu

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ROGERS, Ark. — The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture recognized outstanding performance by 16 faculty and staff members at an awards luncheon Friday, Jan. 7, in the John Q. Hammons Convention Center.

Vice President for Agriculture Mark Cochran said, “We are extremely proud of the dedication, hard work and accomplishments of these award recipients. They represent some 1,700 faculty and staff members on five university campuses, at research and extension centers and stations throughout Arkansas, and in all 75 counties.”

The Division of Agriculture includes the Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. It conducts research and delivers information and educational services for producers and processors of food and fiber. It also promotes public health and nutrition; opportunities for youth, families and communities; safe and secure food systems; and environmental sustainability.

Many research and extension faculty members are also members of the teaching faculty on university campuses.

The Robert G. F. and Hazel Taylor Spitze Land Grant University Faculty Award for Excellence was presented to University Professor John R. Clark of Fayetteville, director of the Division’s fruit breeding program and a world authority on fruit breeding and genetics. His “Arkansas blackberry varieties,” grown coast-to-coast and in many other countries, include thornless varieties and the first primocane-fruiting varieties, which have the potential to revolutionize blackberry production. Other fruits in the program include peaches, grapes, nectarines, blueberries and muscadines.

Jennie Popp of Fayetteville, professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, received the Jack G. Justus Award for Teaching Excellence awarded by the Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences on the Fayetteville campus. She developed and teaches an innovative curriculum on the economics of sustainability and natural resource stewardship. She is co-leader of the St. Matthews Sustainable School Garden service learning project in Belize.

The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences Alumni Society Advising Award was presented to Cynthia K. Moore of Fayetteville, assistant professor of food, nutrition and hospitality. In addition to teaching, she advises some 50 students, including those in the rigorous dietetics curriculum to help them secure highly competitive post-baccalaureate dietetic internships leading to the Registered Dietician certification. She is advisor to the Student Dietetic Association.

John W. White awards for outstanding teaching, research and extension service are named for the U of A System's first vice president for agriculture when the Division of Agriculture was made a statewide unit of the U of A System in 1959.

The John W. White Outstanding Teaching Award, jointly awarded by the Division of Agriculture and Bumpers College, went to Thomas Costello of Fayetteville, associate professor of biological engineering. He is a leader of the senior design capstone experience in biological engineering, which includes hands-on prototyping, mentoring, working with real clients and community outreach. His students have won several national design competitions.

The John W. White Outstanding Research Award was presented to Professor Billy M. Hargis, D.V.M., Ph.D., Diplomate of A.C.P.V. He is director of the Division of Agriculture’s J.K. Skeeles Poultry Health Laboratory in Fayetteville. He was instrumental in developing a series of patented or patent-pending bacterial vectored vaccines to help control several economically important pathogens, including the avian influenza virus.

The John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty Award went to Associate Professor Ronald L. Rainey, who has developed innovative extension programs on the production economics of specialty crops and alternative agriculture. He helped secure a grant that resulted in Arkansas being the lead institution for the Southern Risk Management Education Center and is co-director of the center.

The John W. White Outstanding County Extension Educator Award winner was Lisa Gilmore Washburn, county extension agent-family and consumer sciences in Garland County. She provides local and statewide leadership for health promotion programs and initiated the Strong Women fitness program as a county extension activity. She developed a “train the trainer” course for Strong Women, which helped make it a popular activity in most Arkansas counties.

The John W. White Outstanding Team Award went to the Herbicide Resistant Weed Management Team, which is addressing one of the most economically important issues in Arkansas agriculture -- glyphosate-resistant weed populations. The team has developed and promotes the use of practices to avoid or delay the selection of resistant weed populations in crops fields. Team members are crop, soil and environmental science faculty members Professor Nilda Burgos and Associated Professor Jason Norsworthy on the Fayetteville campus; Professor Robert C. Scott at the Lonoke Extension and Research Center; Professor Ken Smith at the Southeast Research and Extension Center in Monticello; and Bob Reynolds, director of extension communications and marketing, Little Rock.

A John W. White Non-Classified Support Personnel Award was presented to Ronnie J. Bateman, program associate in the Nematode Diagnostic Laboratory at the Southwest Research and Extension Center at Hope. He diagnoses nematode species and levels in soil samples submitted to the laboratory and provides recommendations on responses to nematode infestation. He conducts workshops on nematode control in crop fields and golf course greens.

A John W. White Non-Classified Support Personnel Award was presented to Randy Cingolani, a program technician at the Rohwer Research Station in Desha County. He works with project leaders, graduate students and staff to conduct field experiments from the planning stage through data collection.

The John W. White Classified Support Personnel Award for the Cooperative Extension Service went to Eva Johnson, administrative assistant in the Ouachita District office in Little Rock. She assists Division of Agriculture faculty and staff in 25 counties with a variety of administrative and organizational activities.

The John W. White Classified Support Personnel Award recipient for the Agricultural Experiment Station was Larry Fowler, farm foreman at the Judd Hill Cooperative Research Station near Marked Tree. He was instrumental in transitioning field research projects from the closed Delta Branch Station in Crittenden County to Judd Hill where he supports project leaders.