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Drew County and Arkansas State Farm Bureaus present UAM endowed scholarships to retired ag professors

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L to R Dr. Robert Stark, Dr. Paul Francis

Fast facts

• Farm Bureau endows UAM scholarships

• Retirees Francis, Stark honored

The Drew County Farm Bureau and Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation are making sure that recently retired agriculture professors Drs. Bob Stark and Paul Francis, from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, aren’t forgotten.

Both organizations have endowed scholarships in the names of the two professors. Both retired last year from UA-Monticello’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources after long careers at the campus. Francis spent 33 years teaching agronomy and horticulture subjects, while Stark taught agricultural economics subjects for nearly 25 years. 

“Drew County Farm Bureau decided to do something for these two individuals because they had such a role in the Drew County Farm Bureau and UAM,” said Kerry Hartness, Drew County Farm Bureau president. “Half of the current board members are UAM School of Agriculture graduates. We wanted to recognize those two men for their contributions to the community, UAM, and the Drew County Farm Bureau.”

The scholarships were presented as a surprise at the Drew County Farm Bureau Christmas party. 

Drew County Farm Bureau Manager Mike Zieman said,”Stark was a sponsor for the Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter, where he was involved in recruiting of agriculture students and acknowledging how Farm Bureau works on the political side.”

Of the five collegiate Farm Bureau chapters in Arkansas, Zieman said UAM is the most active, noting the number of students who attended the national convention. “Ninety percent of that participation is due to Drs. Francis and Stark,” he said. 

Stark said the collegiate chapter was started because the Farm Bureau wanted to establish a connection with students coming right out of high school, and Arkansas was one of the first in the nation to start a chapter. 

“I jumped on it because I saw it as a great opportunity for our students to establish connections in the agriculture industry at the local, state, and national levels, provide opportunities for career explorations, and just general connection with the agricultural industry,” said Stark. 

Before the Farm Bureau announcement, Francis hadestablished an endowed scholarship with funds he donated and gathered. The Farm Bureau will contribute to that fund, raising the financial aid the scholarship can provide.

The agriculture faculty will choose the Francis and Stark scholarships recipients and the UA-Monticello College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, DeanMichael Blazier. 

“I’m thrilled by the Farm Bureau scholarships. Farm Bureau supports agriculture and rural communities and allows me to belong to a cause I believe in,” Francis said. “Young people in agriculture-related careers should get involved because Farm Bureau is a powerful lobby in Arkansas with the most influential leaders in the agriculture community. They should be proactive.”

Both Stark and Francis encouraged students to apply for these scholarships, which can be done through the UAM Financial Aid office. 

Weaver said, “The Farm Bureau has given UAM annual scholarships for at least five years if not more,” said Jeff Weaver, UAM vice chancellor for advancement. “Those monies are passed to students directly on a one-time basis, but these are the first endowed scholarship from the Drew County Farm Bureau, meaning that they will live on forever. “

“When professors dedicate their careers to our university and our students, we need to rightly recognize that, and we thank the Farm Bureau for recognizing the excellent faculty we have, Weaver said.  “UAM was founded as an agriculture school; it will always be a big part of our university, as it should be,”

About the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center

The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, brings together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The College and Center are headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, but their programs range statewide with the mission of developing and delivering teaching, research, and extension programs that enhance and ensure the sustainability and productivity of forest-based natural resources and agricultural systems. Academic programs are delivered by the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, research is administered by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, and extension and outreach activities are coordinated by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offer all of their programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and are Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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