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Behind the Fence: The Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research & Extension Center

When you drive past a farm, what do you think about? A dusty old barn, overalls and
straw hats, quaint farmers? How about research, innovation, discovery? Researchers at the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research &
Extension Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas have spent over 100 years developing the unbiased, research-based
tools that farmers rely on to meet everyday challenges. Known locally as The Farm, the center covers
725 acres just minutes away from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus. The beginnings of The Farm go back to 1919, when
the first 423 acre tract of land was purchased. Research at the new site began shortly after, with
each department of the early Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station working hard to
develop more efficient and productive methods, and contribute to increasing prosperity
throughout the state. That same spirit of innovation and discovery
has endured over the last century. The scope of the research happening at The Farm is
extensive, representing every Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station research discipline,
and dozens of individual projects. The Farm provides a critical research
and education space for the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. Researchers perform water quality research, evaluate
bio-processing methods for value-added products, and more as part of the department’s mission
to design a sustainable future. Animal Science researchers study animal nutrition,
physiology, genetics, health, and meat science. The Pauline Whittaker animal Science Center is a
signature facility at The Farm, with a riding arena, show barn, and extensive meeting spaces. The Dorothy E. King equine pavilion is right next door,
with 10 horse stalls, a teaching area for students, and an outdoor arena. Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences faculty focus on
studying soil fertility, agronomic crops like rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, wheat, and more,
weed control, and plant physiology. Division of Agriculture plant breeding and genetics
programs have a long history at The Farm. Researchers spend years selecting for ideal traits,
making crosses between plants, and identifying genes to help develop new varieties
of soybean, wheat, rice, and more. The Entomology and Plant Pathology Department works
toward plant improvement, through the study of insect and pathogen control, pollinator ecology,
arthropod vectors of animal and human diseases, and the genetics of plant pests. The Food Science Department investigates a broad
range of topics, including food chemistry, microbiology and food safety, food processing and engineering,
nutritional science, and sensory and consumer science. Horticulture research at The Farm is split into four areas
of study, sports and lawn turf management, sustainable and organic fruit and vegetable production,
protected fruit and vegetable production, and plant breeding and variety testing. The Poultry Science program manages two poultry
farms at the center, along with a pilot processing plant, hatchery, and other research facilities. Work includes disease research looking for antibiotic
alternatives, development and evaluation of poultry management techniques, investigations
into poultry nutrition and breeding, and research on shell eggs. The Agricultural Education, Communications and
Technology Department develops the next generation of agricultural leaders, educators, and innovators
through hands-on courses taught at The Farm. Faculty also conduct research at The Farm with an
emphasis on applied technologies in agriculture. Connecting this multitude of projects is an
unwavering commitment to practical research using state-of-the-art technology. The Farm’s prominent location in Northwest Arkansas
increases agricultural awareness by reminding us daily where our food and fiber come from. Being close to the University of Arkansas Fayetteville
campus allows students to easily collaborate with Division of Agriculture scientists. The Farm is also home to the research arm of the
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, located
in the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences. Thanks to the generous support of the Tyson family, the
Don Tyson Center has space for 20 state-of-the-art labs, and houses the administrative operations
for the Experiment Station. The Research and Extension Center hosts
numerous public events throughout the year, providing an up-close look at the
research taking place at the farm. The community is also welcome to visit the Washington
County Cooperative Extension Office year-round. Located just behind the Don Tyson Center, the
Washington County Extension Office has a wealth of research-based expertise to help
all Arkansans improve their quality of life. And don’t be surprised to see a crew of Master
Gardeners tending the picturesque landscaping surrounding the Extension Office. Thanks to the work of countless faculty and staff,
students and volunteers, past and present, the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research & Extension Center is
transforming the lives of Arkansans and beyond. you

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