LITTLE ROCK — After guiding the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture through a decade of growth, vice president for agriculture, Dr. Mark J. Cochran, will retire effective Sept. 30.
Under his leadership as a UA System vice president, Cochran encouraged the growth of the entrepreneurship and commercialization of research products and fought hard to obtain funding to continue the Division of Agriculture’s research and extension work, enabling the traditional land grant mission to remain strong in Arkansas.
“Dr. Cochran has been an unabashed cheerleader for Arkansas agriculture for many years, and he will be missed,” said Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System. “Although he conducts his business in a very calm and professional manner, Dr. Cochran is a fierce advocate for the needs of the farming community in this state.
“The list of advances that have occurred during his time as vice president is indeed impressive and they include the recruitment of distinguished scientists to the state, as well as the formation and funding of new state of the art research farms to support modern agriculture. Dr. Cochran achieved all this during a period of flat or declining state funding which makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable.”
Bobbitt said “the Board of Trustees and I now have the difficult task of trying to replace Dr. Cochran with someone who shares both his technical expertise, as well as his love for this state and its farming communities.”
Bobbitt said he will spend the next few weeks visiting with stakeholders across the UA System and the state’s agricultural community to determine steps for identifying the next leader of the division.