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Forestry Extension instructor created for Arkansas


MONTICELLO — Jaret Rushing, a veteran county agent, has been appointed by the University of Arkansas Systems Division of Agriculture (UADA) as its Forestry Extension Instructor. This is a new position within the UADA, for which Rushing will provide forestry expertise and assistance for Arkansas forest landowners, county agents, forestry professionals, and youth.
Rushing spent the last 16 years in Calhoun County with the UADA Cooperative Extension Service, where he worked as staff chair. “So now, instead of being confined to a county, I can do forestry programming across the entire state of Arkansas as well as with all other agents whenever they need help, do programs, demonstration work, and things of that nature,” said Rushing. Rushing will be part of the extension team of the UADA Arkansas Forest Resources Center housed at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) campus.
Rushing grew up in Sulphur Springs, graduated high school from Watson Chapel, and then went to UAM, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry. “Once I got to UAM, I got heavily involved in timber sports activities. My small claim to fame is even to this day, I still hold the Southern Regional conclave record for knife throw, 12 out of 15.,” said Rushing.  He and his wife Traci are proud parents of a nine-year-old son and six-year-old twin daughters.
Rushing’s experience as a county agent guides his drive to help county agents with forestry issues statewide. “Forestry is so vast, and it's also very seasonal” Rushing said, “I want to be somebody that at the drop of a hat can help the agents out. I can speak at events, and I can develop and program events. I can hold trainings here on campus or wherever in Arkansas.” 
He is also eager to help with landowners and youth as Forestry Extension Instructor. “Extension programming starts blue-collar with the landowners, and I don't want to put them out of sight” said Rushing. Near the Camden area, the UADA has a partnership with a landowner of hundreds of acres of pine forest with a long history of management focused on wildlife habitat and timber production. This forest is a unique part of the UADA’s Discovery Farm network highlighting the ecological and hydrological benefits of sound management, and Rushing is developing youth programs and demonstration projects focused on the Camden Discovery Farm. “Once we get those off the ground, I'll be aiding in those projects and programs” he said.
In short, Rushing is excited about the opportunities this job offers. “The underlying motto of extension is our classroom is where we need it. I've done programs on the back of a truck's tailgate before. I’ve stood at a podium and talked to 300 people, so wherever I'm needed is where I'll go” said Rushing.