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Small Farm Outreach

PRELUDE

  • The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), an 1890 land grant institution located 80 miles west of the Mississippi River, secured an 871-acre farm in Lonoke County Arkansas in 1991.

  • The National Water Management Center (NWMC) was established by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in 1995.

  • UAPB and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) NRCS signed a Cooperative Agreement to initiate the development of the farm at Lonoke in 1996.

  • The NWMC and UAPB developed a partnering relationship to develop and transfer water related technologies in 1996.

Lonoke Farm Map GIF

Map to Lonoke Farm GIF

Lonoke Farm Map (150 KB)
Map to Lonoke Farm (20 KB)

Lonoke Farm Map GIF

Map to Lonoke Farm GIF

Lonoke Farm - Field Day Activities (177 KB)
Lonoke Farm - Core 4 Practices (146 KB)

The Small Farm Outreach and Water Management Center -- The Small Farm Outreach and Water Management Center will conduct demonstrations and research relating to soil and water conservation, irrigation water management, traditional and alternative crop technology, aquaculture, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and forestry.

The Wetlands and Water Management Program -- The mission of the Wetlands and Water Management Program is to 'enhance the economic status and quality of life for farmers while improving wetlands and protecting water resources in Arkansas.' The program will focus on efficient and effective management of water and wetlands on farms. A holistic approach will be utilized to encourage conservation practices that protect the resource base and enhance productivity.

Major Components of the Program

  • information and education transfer
  • small farm incentives
  • technical assistance
  • applied research
  • training

Benefits of the Partnership -- Tangible benefits to NRCS, UAPB and other partners will result from strategies to improve participation of small, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers in programs where they are usually under-represented.

Strategies

  • Developing holistic conservation plans that emphasize environmentally sensitive wetlands and efficient water management practices for at least 400 farms
  • Establishing a professional research and training facility for meetings, demonstrations, and related activities
  • Using existing 'Best Management Practices' or developing others to preserve or enhance wetlands
  • Establishing about 60 research studies or field trials to benefit farmers in the region
  • Educating farmers, students, specialists, and community leaders in water-related activities and wetland enhancement practices
  • Improving on-farm water management practices in the Delta Region
  • Helping small, socially disadvantaged, and limited resource farmers or other groups to fulfill their dreams of being self-sufficient, maintaining their farms, and becoming proactive in the conservation of soil and water resources
  • Producing a pool of potential first hires (UAPB students) with practical experience in wetlands and water management

The Wetlands Reserve Program -- One example of a program where minorities and socially disadvantaged farmers are under-represented is the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) which was established in the 1990 Farm Bill to restore and protect wetlands. The lack of participation by these groups has generated concern by USDA and those agencies responsible for administering WRP. To improve WRP participation by targeted farmers in the Delta, the Small Farm Outreach and Water Management Center will provide technology transfer, demonstrations, and outreach activities.

Issues and Concerns -- Water availability and water quality are critical resource issues facing the South Central and Lower Mississippi Delta Regions of the United States. These critical issues dramatically impact both land and economic conditions of small, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. One reason these farmers encounter major problems is the fact that they cannot secure initial capital investments to install adequate on-farm irrigation systems.

Solutions -- UAPB has developed two innovative initiatives to address critical water issues and enhance collaboration between State and Federal agencies as well as foundations and private industries. The objectives of the Center will be realized when these initiatives are coupled with UAPB's clientele base, the staff expertise of NRCS and the enthusiasm of university personnel.

For more information contact:

Dr. Leslie J. Glover
Associate Dean for UAPB Outreach and Technology Transfer
P.O. Box 4913
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
1200 North University Drive
Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71611
(870) 575-8828

Theodis Bunch 
USDA-NRCS National Water Management Center
101 East Capitol Avenue, Suite B-100
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-3811 
(501) 210-8904
Fax (501) 210-8935

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