State agriculture HOF induction in August rescheduled to 2022 because of COVID

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 293 views 

Soybeans being planted this past May in Clay County in northeast Arkansas. (photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Stewart Runsick.)

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame has postponed its Aug. 20 induction ceremony because of safety concerns related to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. The ceremony was reset for March 4, 2022, effectively skipping a year between induction classes, according to a Wednesday (Aug. 4) news release from Arkansas Farm Bureau.

“I am sad because this is such an important moment for Arkansas agriculture,” said Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame board. “But I believe our board of directors made the right decision to postpone this event. This ceremony is about celebrating those who have made Arkansas agriculture great, and we were expecting a record crowd of around 700 people for the induction.”

Following are those to be inducted:

  • Rick Cartwright of Fayetteville, who retired as director of the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Arkansas
  • Long-time agriculture educator Joe Don Greenwood of Hermitage
  • The late Russell Roy Reynolds, who was director of the U.S. Forest Service Crossett Experimental Forest for 34 years
  • Randy Veach of Manila, former president of Arkansas Farm Bureau
  • Mark Waldrip of Moro, founder of Armor Seed Co.
  • Andrew Wargo III of Watson, farm manager for the 15,000-acre Baxter Land Co. for more than 50 years

“This is a great class of inductees, and obviously, the safety of all involved in this program is our top priority,” Calhoun added. “We hope to be able to gather [safely] and celebrate together in March 2022, and give these inductees the full courtesy they deserve.”

A total of 170 people have been inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, which began in 1987.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 2,343 new COVID cases were reported in Arkansas on Tuesday (Aug. 3). Over the past two weeks, total cumulative cases have risen by 8.9% from 359,516 to 391,623.

Recently, Bentonville and Fayetteville canceled August festivals at their respective downtown squares. The decision to cancel the event was attributed to the rise in COVID cases and area hospitals reaching capacity.