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18th Annual Soil and Water Education Conference is Wednesday


JONESBORO – Wes Ward, secretary of agriculture for the State of Arkansas, will be the luncheon speaker for Arkansas State University’s 18th annual Soil and Water Education Conference and Arkansas Irrigation Expo on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the A-State Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive.

Ward is one of a number of speakers on this year’s program who will address the latest issues and trends in soil and water conservation.  With the addition of the Arkansas Irrigation Expo this year, the conference will include a trade show with vendors and displays.

“The conference serves the Mid-South region by providing outreach information/education offerings to the public, crop producers, ranchers, educators and agribusiness professionals, and, of course, our students,” said Dr. Tim Burcham, dean of the College of Agriculture and Technology.  “The conference planning committee secured a wonderful group of nationally recognized speakers for this year’s event.”

Registration will begin at 8 a.m., followed by two morning sessions, with a mid-morning break included.  At the luncheon, A-State Chancellor Tim Hudson will give a welcoming address and introduce Secretary Ward.  The luncheon program also will include an announcement of this year’s recipient of the ‘Outstanding Conservation Award.”  A third session will follow the luncheon, and should adjourn at 3 p.m.

“Many of the presentations will feature producers who have implemented a particular conservation practice alongside the soil-water professional that assisted them with their particular project,” Burcham added.  “There is no substitute for producers hearing from other producers when it comes to implementation of new and/or innovative conservation practices.  I believe this perspective has played a major role in the continued growth and relevance of this conference.”

Ward, a Lake City native, completed a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business from Arkansas State and a law degree and the LL.M. program (Master of Laws) in agricultural and food law at the University of Arkansas.  He has served in the U. S. Marine Corps for nearly 15 years, completing deployments to Afghanistan and Jordan, and currently is a captain and a civil affairs officer in the Marine Corps Reserves.  He was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to serve as secretary of agriculture.

This program is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the Arkansas Water Resources Center.

Registration for the day-long conference, including lunch, is $40. Certified Crop Adviser Soil and Water Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded to those who attend. To register online, individuals should follow the conference link at http://www.AState.edu/soilandwater.  For more details, contact Chris Jones at 870.972.2043 or by email, chrisjones@AState.edu.

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Wes Ward
Wes Ward

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture