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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

Local Event

Southern Plains Area
Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center
Booneville, AR


Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, Booneville, Arkansas

1976: Local Chamber of Commerce (now USDA Committee) appointed a select committee on colony land utilization. A study was secured from the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District and recommendation as to the best usage of this acreage. Priority #1 was a Small Farms Research Center.
1977: The local committee contacted Senator John L. McClellan; Senator Dale Bumpers; Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt;, Congressman Bill Alexander; Governor David Pryor; Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton; State Senator Clovis Bryant; State Representative Frank Willems; MRDDS Board, Dr. James Martin, University of Arkansas (UofA); and Dr. Lloyd Warren, UofA. All of these were instrumental in securing funds and development of the Center.
1978: The U.S. Congress authorized and allocated funds for a task force to consider the feasibility of establishing a center at Booneville, Arkansas.
1979: A feasibility study was completed for a Small Farm Research and Extension Center to serve the needs of small farmers in the mid-south region of the U.S. and Congress approved funds for the Center.
The initial research thrust at the South Central Small Farms Research Center would be: (1) a ruminant animal-forage research program; and (2) a small fruit and vegetable research program, with an initial staff of a federal Program Coordinator, two federal research scientists, a farm manager, and an administrative clerk. An agreement between the State of Arkansas Children=s Colony and the University of Arkansas made available approximately 2,000 acres for leasing by USDA-REE-ARS. The task force recommended a headquarters building, headhouse/greenhouse, farm shop, water-well house, and other needed support facilities be constructed, repaired, or renovated at a proposed site along Highway 23 approximately 6.5 miles southwest of Booneville.
1980: A Program coordinator and Program Planning Committee were composed of representatives of the University of Arkansas, USDA-REE-ARS, and USDA-EXT. Temporary offices were established downtown in Booneville until office space was available on the leased property. There was a ground breaking ceremony establishing the start of the Research Center of approximately 1000" acres.
1981: Actual Center development began. The Center grew from ca 1000" acres to ca 2300" acres in 1993.
1982: The USDA Committee met with USDA, Soil Conservation Service (SCS) representatives to discuss the concept of a Plant Materials Center in Booneville at the Small Farms Research Center already established.
1983: A proposal was written and a resolution passed by the Arkansas Soil and Water Commission supporting the establishment of the Plant Materials Center at Booneville. The proposal was sent to SCS Chief in March and in June the Arkansas Congressional Delegation in Washington gave the project its complete support. Concerns were voiced about finances.
1984: The Agricultural Appropriation Bill contained instructions for USDA to review the proposal of a Plant Materials Center at Booneville. By May over 60 percent of the Center was in use for experimentation and the remainder to support our cattle herd. Perimeter fences and cross fences have been replaced or rebuilt.
1986: Funds were unavailable for the Plant Materials Center until Congress appropriated funds in August. An agreement was made between ARS and SCS to lease office facilities and approximately 120" acres. Since their establishment in 1987, the Booneville Plant Materials Center has grown to approximately 282 acres.
Name Changes: Changed from South Central Small Farms Research to South Central Small Farm Research Center, to South Central Family Farm Research Center to South Central Family Farms Research Center to Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center.
2004: The Center Staff has grown from four permanent employees in 1980 to 23 permanent employees (5 Research Scientists; 4 Support Scientists; 7 technicians, a Location Administrative Officer, 5 agronomy and livestock support, and a program assistant), and 4 temporary employees.




Event Photo [click to enlarge]





Last Modified: 9/8/2015
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