Former State Rep. and Prairie County Judge Butch Calhoun will lead the Arkansas Agriculture Department, whose current leader, Richard Bell, is retiring after 7 years on the job.

Calhoun, who has been serving as director of the Arkansas Department of Rural Services, was selected by the Arkansas Agriculture Board at a meeting on Wednesday (June 27).

Governor Mike Beebe, who is on an agricultural trade mission to France, will have to confirm the appointment, which his spokesman said he will do.

“It was their (Ag Board) hire and we think they made a good one,” said Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample.

Calhoun's appo

intment was also complimented by the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the largest agricultural advocacy group in the state.

“We are pleased and excited that Butch Calhoun has been appointed as the next Secretary of Agriculture, and I commend Gov. Beebe and the Arkansas Agriculture Board for their insight into this appointment,” said Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

“Butch has a long history of support for agriculture, and has demonstrated a keen understanding of rural Arkansas. He knows how important agriculture is to our state, and the critical role agriculture plays in rural communities across Arkansas.

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