|Arkansas Small Farms Research
Center Marks 25th Anniversary
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Luis Pons, (301) 504-1628, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 6, 2005
BOONEVILLE, Ark., May 6--A quarter-century of service
to grassroots agriculture was marked here today as the
Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center celebrated
its 25th anniversary.
The center encompasses 2,300 acres of land devoted
to research on food animal production; integrated farming
systems; rangeland, pastures and forages; and conservation
practices. Run as a partnership between the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
and the University of Arkansas' Division of Agriculture,
its researchers develop scientific principles and technologies
that enhance the profitability of small-scale farms.
"This center's scientists strive to help small
farmers sustain themselves by diversifying production
and reducing inputs, as well as by capturing a greater
portion of post-farm value," said ARS Administrator
Edward B. Knipling. "This is of great importance,
given the challenges modern small farmers face in attaining
profitability while still protecting and enhancing their
land's natural resources."
Knipling made note of the center's growth over the
years. "When this center opened in 1980, it had
just four permanent employees. Today, it is the workplace
of 23 permanent employees, including five research scientists
and four support scientists," he said.
Dale Bumpers, a former Arkansas governor and senator,
spoke at the celebration. He was a leader among elected
officials and local citizens who were instrumental in
securing funds and developing the center. Bumpers was
Arkansas governor from 1971 to 1975, and served in the
U.S. Senate from 1975 to 1999.
Also speaking today were Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas
and other federal, state and local officials.
The facility was originally known as the South Central
Small Farms Research Center and was named after Bumpers
in 1997. Today, ARS scientists there pursue a program
of basic and applied research that addresses constraints
to successful, sustainable, livestock-forage and agroforestry
In addition, center scientists cooperate in projects
with researchers from Oregon State University, the University
of Arkansas and the University of Missouri who are seeking
to minimize the economic impact of fescue toxicosis
in grazing ruminants. They also cooperate with scientists
at the Shirley, Ark., Community Development Center and
the University of Missouri's Center for Agroforestry.
The USDA Committee of the Booneville Chamber of Commerce
helped organize today's event.