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Mark Cochran, Head of UA System’s Division of Agriculture, to Retire

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Mark Cochran, vice president of the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture, announced this week that he will retire on Sept. 30.

Cochran has led the division for 10 years and been with the system for nearly four decades.

He said in a new release that he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

“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,” UA System President Donald Bobbitt said in the release. “Dr. Cochran achieved all this during a period of flat or declining state funding which makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable.”

Bobbitt also 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.

“Our work starts with the research discoveries and ends with extension education,” Cochran said in the release. “From the work of the 4-H program to prepare young people to meet the world’s challenges, to our many extension and research programs that have improved lives of people across the state and increased economic vibrance of our communities, the division does what no other organization in Arkansas can do and is a truly unique part of the UA System.”

He also said the division’s mission hasn’t changed and that it has the qualified personnel in place to continue moving forward.

Cochran helped create the COTMAN program, which earned him a John W. White Team award and Arkansas Cotton Achievement in 1999. COTMAN is a computer tool aimed at helping cotton growers make better management decisions for their crop.

He attained the first increase in the division’s recurring funds in more than a decade, too, and led the division through the pandemic.

Prior to serving as vice president, Cochran was associate vice president and head of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the division’s research arm. Before that, he spent a decade as head of the department of agriculture and agribusiness at the University of Arkansas.

From August 1987 to August 1988, Cochran was a visiting professor at Texas A&M in the department of agricultural economics.

An Arizona native, he earned his bachelor’s in agricultural economics from New Mexico State. Cochran earned his master’s in agricultural economics and his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University.

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