History and Purpose of Livestock and Forestry Branch Experiment Station
On March 5, 1937, the State of Arkansas, by action of its General Assembly, officially recognized the problem of land use with the provision for establishment of a new and fourth branch experiment station for the study of land utilization through livestock and forestry in the limestone section of the Ozarks.
Arkansas is a state of widely diverse soils, topographies, and climates. As a result, the agriculture varies greatly in different sections of state and presents a diversity of problems.
The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station system had been maintained since 1888 by the people of Arkansas for the purpose of studying the numerous problems confronting agriculture and rural living and of securing basic information concerning these problems. Since Arkansas is essentially an agricultural state, its Agricultural Experiment Station system is a service to all its people.
The intensifying interest of the state’s citizenship in the conduct of agricultural research under varied conditions in Arkansas gave rise to the establishment of branch experiment stations to deal with problems in the actual areas of production and under soil and climate conditions of those areas. The Arkansas General Assembly of 1925 provided for the establishment of three branch stations. The following year the Cotton Branch Station near Marianna in Lee County, the Fruit and Truck Branch Station near Hope in Hempstead County, and the Rice Branch Station near Stuttgart in Arkansas County were established.
With growing interest in the state in the livestock industry, and with nearly half of the land in farms in timber, there was an obvious need for utilization studies. This public desire and interest culminated in the establishment of the Livestock and Forestry Branch Experiment Station in Independence County.
This fourth Branch Station, located in the eastern part of the Ozark Plateau, consists of 3,042 acres representing the major soil types and general topographical conditions typically of the area. The Station is northwest of Batesville, 3 miles south of State Highway 69, and between the towns of Cushman and Bethesda.
The acreage is divided into two tracts. The main tract contains 2, 155 acres on which experimental work and studies are being made in land use; livestock, pastures, different kinds of pasture grasses, clovers, and combinations, forage crops, soil and water conservation, varieties of field crops, and other crops of possible economic importance to the area. The second tract is located 3 miles west of he main section of the Station near the White River, containing 887 acres of forest. A great part of this timber tract is virgin hardwood.
Although the Station is far from complete, much more has been done to equip the new 3,000-acre laboratory. Improvements made include the construction of five buildings and laboratories, and 7 miles of fencing, building of a mile-long grass spillway, construction of 6 miles of roads, and preparation of sections of the Station for plat and pasture work.
No one can predict the ultimate scope of the findings of this Station, of just what it will contribute, except that it will return to Arkansas greatly multiplied the invested public funds. That, after all, is the way of research and its great justification. Research delves into the unknown, and follows uncharted byways-not with assurance of success, but with courage, experience, knowledge, and with common sense as a guide.
Mr. W.C. Wilbanks was named Assistant Director in Charge and assumed these duties on May 17, 1937.
Batesville Grand-Record newspaper clipping 1937