Many Arkansans have made significant contributions to our industry, including service to this board. Take a moment to learn about those who played a part in the miracle bean becoming the largest row crop in the natural state.
ANDREW CECIL OLIVER III
A member of our board, the Mid-South Soybean Board and the Southwest Soybean Board, as well as a past president of the Crittenden County Farm Bureau, Drew Oliver served Arkansas’s soybean industry for 34 years.
In recognition of his multi-decade contributions and commitment to the soybean industry in Arkansas and around the country, the Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance (NSGA) has named their latest soybean variety in Oliver’s honor; Drew.Soy 5.0.
This honorary variety is a chloride excluder and showing signs of (moderate) resistance to races of soybean cyst nematodes, root-knot nematodes, stem canker and frog-eye leaf spot. Official tests were conducted in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. While in development, Drew.Soy 5.0 showed comparable or increased yields in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi. The seed was produced in NE Arkansas, Oliver’s home region, and is available through NSGA for the 2018 season.
From Marion, Arkansas, Oliver earned his master’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Arkansas in 1981 and farmed in Proctor for 34 years.
Drew Oliver passed away on September 15, 2017, at the age of 66.
JOE MYRON KIRKSEY
Joe Kirksey’s impact on Arkansas soybeans started 64 years ago when he walked away from medical school and onto his own farmland in Mulberry, Arkansas.
What started as a small piece of land grew into 2,200 acres of soybeans and wheat, along with another 1,200 acres of pasture and beef cattle. 13 years later, Kirksey joined our board of directors.
By the time an edamame variety was named in his honor in 2012 by the University of Arkansas’s Department of Agriculture, Kirksey had served as president and vice president of our board and the Arkansas Soybean Association, vice president of the American Soybean Association, a charter member for the United Soybean Board, to name a few.
The UA Kirksey, developed by UA-Division of Agriculture’s soybean breeding program, was developed to recognize and honor the work and contributions by Kirksey during his 54-year career. Along with the creation of UA Kirksey, the city of Mulberry was working with J.Y. Chung to open the American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame (AVSE) plant in Mulberry. As of today, farmers in Pope, Crawford, White and Faulkner counties grow the UA Kirksey for AVSE, the only plant in the country processing only edamame.
Born in Mulberry in 1929, Kirksey earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Ouachita Baptist University in 1951 and pursued a medical degree before answering the call of agriculture.
He was a first-generation soybean farmer who received national recognition for his leadership and influence.
Joe Kirksey passed away on August 26, 2017, at the age of 88.