Aug 10, 2016
STUTTGART, AR – It was standing room only here yesterday at the dedication of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s new Foundation Seed Facility.
The $8.6 million facility will be part of the Rice Research and Extension Center and is a tremendous leap forward for Arkansas rice farmers and the industry as a whole.
Dr. Glen Bathke, the center’s program director, said the facility will manage the certified rice, soybean, and wheat foundation seeds produced by the Division of Agriculture, which require inspections throughout the entire process, from the field to the point of sale. The facility will be capable of processing as much as 250 bushels of seed an hour, including pre-cleaning, cleaning, sizing, and other steps in ensuring the high quality of as many as 25 varieties of seed each year.
Dr. Mark Cochran, University of Arkansas System vice president for Agriculture, said it was time to bring seed processing into the 21st century for one of the nation’s leading agricultural states.
“It was time to replace something from the 1950’s,” Cochran said, noting the aging of the division’s original seed facility.
The new facility features a 6,419-square-foot warehousing area, a nearly 3,330-square-foot conditioning area, and a 1,835-square-foot business area. The bulk storage area includes 20 bins with a capacity of 26,000 bushels, enabling operators to dry and store as many as 20 different crop varieties at one time. The facility’s belt conveyors can move 2,000 bushels an hour under one roof.
Bryan Moery, a rice farmer from Wynne, Arkansas and chairman of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, the group that provided $2 million for the project, was among the many growers who attended the dedication ceremony.
“We’re quite pleased with this cutting edge facility that befits an already world-class rice research program,” Moery said. “When Dr. Cochran brought this project to the board several years ago, we saw the need and supported his vision. It’s nice to see it realized today.”