UAPB Alumnus/Former Dean Dr. Hazell Reed Appointed to USDA Equity Commission


Will Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Humanities

Dr. Hazell Reed

Dr. Hazell Reed, former Dean of the School of Agriculture, Home Economics and Technology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) (currently the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Science Humans), was recently appointed to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Equity Commission. According to the USDA, the 15-member independent commission is responsible for evaluating the department’s programs and services and recommending ways to reduce barriers to access.

Dr. Reed, who lives in Pine Bluff, was one of two Arkansans appointed to the Equity Commission. Ron Rainey, assistant vice president of the Agriculture System Division at the University of Arkansas, was also chosen to serve.

“The committee recently met for our first planning session,” Dr. Reed said. “We are developing a formal process by which we can advise the USDA and the Secretary of Agriculture on practices that contribute to inclusion and access to USDA programs. We are in the organizing stage and will eventually provide concrete recommendations for changing the culture and structure of the USDA to reduce disparities.

Dr. Reed served as Dean of the School of Agriculture, Home Economics and Technology from 1985 to 1989. During his tenure, he served as director of the program that would become the Small Farm Program of the ‘UAPB. The program was designed to provide technical assistance to producers with limited resources. Program staff provided administrative support to vegetable growers and worked to create a structure that would allow them to improve their operations.

“Grower outreach involved everything from workshops and field demonstrations to providing information about organic gardening or how to prepare taxes,” Dr. Reed said. “We eventually hired Dr. Henry English as program director. He was the top contender and greatly expanded the program, reaching more counties and producers. Bravo to him for the work he has done. »

Dr. Reed served as the UAPB’s Vice Chancellor for International Affairs from 1989 to 1992. During that time, he established international academic programs, developed international non-degree training programs, and helped secure 975 acres of field for UAPB research and outreach.

As Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, Dr. Reed regularly hosted international professionals through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We would provide two to six weeks of training for agricultural professionals around the world,” he said. “Guests traveled with us across Arkansas to farms and research stations at the University of Arkansas so they could see firsthand the impact of agriculture on diverse communities. Armed with new information, they were able to return to their country of origin and implement new practices.

Some of Dr. Reed’s other career roles included vice chancellor for research and economic development and vice chancellor for higher education and research for Central University of North Carolina; Senior Administrator for Research and Federal Relations and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Delaware State University; and Extension Horticulture Specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

After retiring in 2015, he became executive director of the National Black Growers Council. In this position, he is responsible for providing administrative direction for the overall operation of the organization.

Dr. Reed earned a BS in Horticulture from Arkansas Mechanical, Agricultural and Normal College (now UAPB), an MS in Horticulture/Physiology from Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Arkansas.

He credits his parents and Dr. Sellers J. Parker, the first Dean of UAPB’s Division of Agriculture and Technology, for helping him choose his career path.

“I’ve always loved farming,” Dr. Reed said. “I was born and raised on my grandfather’s farm in eastern Arkansas and wanted to be a farmer. However, complications arose and the land was sold. My parents believed in education and encouraged me to get a degree. They told me that after graduating, I could do whatever I wanted.

When he realized he had to choose a career path other than agriculture, Dr. Sellers J. Parker advised Dr. Reed to continue his education and earn a master’s degree.

“I believe Dr. Parker saw the shortage of black professionals in agriculture and wanted to fill that gap,” Dr. Reed said. “He emphasized getting a degree and contributing by training others in the field. During this time, I met Mrs. Elnora Bradford, who was a great support and encouragement to me and other agricultural students.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its outreach and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion , age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


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