Entry Category: Agriculture

Forest Management and Conservation

The Dictionary of Forestry defines “forest management” as the application of biophysical and socioeconomic principles to predominantly tree-covered lands to meet specific objectives while maintaining productivity. To this end, forest management encompasses the art and science of manipulating timberlands for a range of renewable natural resources, including (but not limited to) wood products, wildlife, water, clean air, carbon storage, biodiversity, aesthetics, and recreation. Conservation has always been an integral part of forest management, although its definition has evolved over the decades as the practice of forestry has matured. Today, conservation has more of an emphasis on long-term sustainability, but during the earliest years of professional forestry, any effort related to the non-exploitive treatment of forests was considered conservation. In Arkansas, …

Hardin, Joseph Carrol

Joseph Carrol Hardin was a civic leader and politician throughout most of the twentieth century. He is best known for running for governor against Orval Faubus in 1960. While Hardin maintained his segregationist stance during the 1960 campaign, he proclaimed, “I am not a dynamiting, riot-calling segregationist.” Joe Hardin, one of the five surviving children of Thomas J. Hardin Jr. and Bettie Hall Hardin, was born on June 1, 1898, at Grady (Lincoln County). His father died when Hardin was a boy, leaving his mother to raise the children and run the family farm. Hardin attended Grady public schools and, with the help of teacher Edith Jackman Combs, was able to graduate from the nearest high school, at Pine Bluff …

Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) actively supports aquaculture through research conducted at the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center (HKDSNARC) in Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The mission of the HKDSNARC is to conduct cutting-edge research that addresses the highest priorities of the U.S. aquaculture industry, as well as serving as a global leader in aquaculture research. The research conducted addresses vital issues that are national in scope and result in new knowledge that informs scientists, farmers, feed mills, pharmaceutical companies, processors, teachers, governmental agencies, and consumers. The HKDSNARC collaborates with universities, international research institutions, government agencies, and private industry. Since the 1970s, aquaculture has been the fastest-growing sector of global food production. Global aquaculture production in …

Hartz, Jacob, Sr.

Jacob Hartz Sr. was a pioneer in the soybean industry. His vision of the use of the soybean plant as a rotation crop in the nitrogen-depleted cotton and rice fields of Arkansas County led to the growth of a soybean industry that today is a $500 million cash crop in Arkansas, where 3.2 million acres are grown annually. Jacob Hartz was born to German immigrants George and Susanna Hartz in Racine, Wisconsin, on April 4, 1888. He was the third of eight children. After completing six years of formal education, his first work experience was as a clerk in a general store. In 1909, he married Mary Isabelle Smith, with whom he had eight children, and became an Arkansas sales …

Home Demonstration Clubs

Home demonstration clubs were an integral part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, which was established during the early twentieth century as an experiment in adult education, providing agricultural demonstration work for men and home demonstration work for women. The home demonstration work taught farm women improved methods for accomplishing their household responsibilities and encouraged them to better their families’ living conditions through home improvements and labor-saving devices. Beyond just the realm of the individual family, the clubs also became sources of education and charity in communities. On January 1, 1912, Emma Archer organized the first canning club work for girls in Mabelvale (Pulaski County). In 1916, Archer became Arkansas’s first state home demonstration agent. As such, she …

Irons Fork Experimental Forest

Shortly after experimental forests were authorized for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)—an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—by the McSweeney-McNary Forest Research Act of 1928, the Ouachita National Forest (ONF) reached out to the USFS’s Southern Forest Experiment Station (SFES). The ONF staff members wanted the SFES to develop an experimental forest to help them learn about managing the shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)–dominated forests of the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. In early 1931, the SFES dispatched a three-man crew to examine possible locations on the ONF, but they did not find any areas they thought were suitable for silvicultural research. The ONF and the USFS’s Washington DC office persisted, and a few years later the SFES suggested an experimental forest on a large tract of virgin and cutover timber along the Irons Fork …

Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery

Since 1928, the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery near Lonoke (Lonoke County) has produced fish for stocking Arkansas lakes and streams. It is the oldest and largest of the four warm-water hatcheries run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and is the largest and one of the oldest state-owned warm-water pond hatcheries in the United States. Early in 1928, AGFC chairman Lee Miles instructed AGFC secretary Guy Amsler to look for available land near Lonoke for the construction of a fish hatchery. The site purchased for the hatchery was a half mile south of Lonoke and consisted of two adjacent rice farms totaling 266 acres and located along present-day U.S. Highway 70. The commission earmarked $17,544 for purchasing …

Lavacaberry

The Lavacaberry is a hybrid variety of berry that takes its name from the town of Lavaca (Sebastian County), where it was planted extensively in the 1940s. The introduction of the berry to the town helped reinvigorate the local economy at a time when the effects of the Depression were still being felt. In 1937, the Lavaca School District hired Idus H. Fielder as a vocational instructor. In his eagerness to help local growers, Fielder met Ed Girard, a local farmer, to discuss the plight of the farmers. After listening to Girard and others, Fielder remembered a berry from the farm of R. E. Hallett in McRae (White County). The berry was known as a “California Red Raspberry,” and Hallett …

Midland Holm

Midland Holm was a 5,000-acre plantation situated in the Oil Trough Bottoms on the White River in Independence County. It was established by Virgil Young (V. Y.) Cook. Described by his contemporaries as a young man “with keen foresight and ability, coupled with indomitable energy,” Cook, at age eighteen, began life in Arkansas as a merchant in Grand Glaise (Jackson County) in 1866. Showing an early interest in the Oil Trough Bottoms, he bought his first eighty acres there in 1873 for $500. He would eventually own a plantation of 5,000 acres of the fertile bottomland, making him the largest landowner in the county. After being appointed receiving agent for the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, Cook moved with the railroad …

Military Farm Colonies (Arkansas Delta)

As the Federal army moved across Arkansas during the Civil War, thousands of newly freed slaves attached themselves to military units and eventually began to amass in Union strongholds. Helena (Phillips County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) were just two of the towns where Union commanders struggled to provide for this massive influx of refugees. As more freedmen arrived at Helena after it fell to Union forces in 1862, military officers worked to alleviate the strain these civilians put on the supply lines. Eventually, a program that saw some success in Tennessee and Mississippi was adopted by the commanders at Helena. Realizing that the freedmen were an untapped source of labor, Union officers east of the Mississippi River leased abandoned …

Military Farm Colonies (Northwestern Arkansas)

During the Civil War, thousands of Arkansas civilians became displaced and relied on either the Federal or Confederate governments to provide basic necessities. These non-combatants strained military resources, and commanders searched for ways to make these refugees self-sufficient. With many Unionist families in northwestern Arkansas, Federal commanders created a program that allowed groups to grow subsistence crops and work together to provide mutual self-defense from enemy units. The colonies in northwestern Arkansas were established around the families of white Unionists, while other colonies in central and eastern Arkansas were populated by freedmen and their families. By the spring of 1864, years of war had taken a toll on the agricultural output of northwestern Arkansas, and thousands of people were forced …