Glenn Hardy and the late Charles E. Caviness were honored as Twentieth Century leaders in agricultural education and research during a dedication ceremony Dec. 7 for the Hardy-Caviness Greenhouse Complex at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Northeast Research and Extension Center.
Hardy was dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics -- now Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences -- at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1965 to 1987. Caviness, widely known as "Mr. Soybean" in the state's agricultural community, was a soybean breeder and a member of the university’s agronomy department from 1949 to 1991.
Mark Cochran, the university’s Vice President for Agriculture, said that before Hardy started his tenure as the college's longest serving dean, he conducted soil fertility research and led the early development of soil testing services based in Marianna and Fayetteville. As dean, Hardy modernized and expanded the college's curricula and significantly increased enrollment.
Cochran said Caviness led a research team that developed nine important soybean varieties at a time when most varieties were provided by university breeding programs. His varieties provided a major breakthrough for Arkansas farmers in the form of genetic resistance to soil-borne diseases that had previously severely limited soybean production on some two million acres of "clayey" soils in eastern Arkansas.
Speaking on behalf of donors who helped fund construction of the greenhouses, Steve Wilson of the R.E. Lee Wilson Trust said Hardy and Caviness were trusted advisers, mentors and friends when he was an agriculture student. "They took a personal interest in every student and had unique abilities for advising and mentoring students" in their personal lives as well as academics, Wilson said.
Other donors were E. Ritter and Company based in Marked Tree, Charles Moore of Mississippi County, Mrs. Sarah Moore and the Laura E. Moore Trust, Fred Bourland of Keiser, David Wildy of Mississippi County and Adams Land Company at Leachville.
NEREC Director Fred Bourland said the Hardy-Caviness Complex includes a new greenhouse and another that was renovated, along with a headhouse for both units. The complex will provide for an energy-efficient, controlled environment for crops and entomology research conducted at NEREC.