Claude Kennedy, Marianna, is the new resident director of the Cotton Branch Experiment Station, which is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture's Northeast Research and Extension Center (NEREC).

NEREC Director Fred Bourland said Kennedy, a former Lee County farmer and Cooperative Extension Service agent, "has proven leadership and organizational skills and a thorough understanding of agriculture in the central Delta." Kennedy began his new duties July 1. He succeeds Robert Turner, who was resident director at Pine Tree Station, in St. Francis County, from 1971 to 1991, and at Cotton Branch Station, from 1991 until he retired in April.

"Cotton Branch has a rich heritage in the Delta," Kennedy said. "We need to preserve that and expand on it to help farmers stay profitable in this tough agricultural economy.

"I grew up just a couple of miles from the station (three miles south of Marianna). It played a big role in my life with field days and 4-H activities when I was growing up and later when I was farming. I never thought I would become resident director. I consider it an honor," he said.

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