Students majoring in crop management and in environmental, soil and water sciences at the University of Arkansas will have more scholarship opportunities thanks to participants in the sixth annual Delta Classic Scholarship Golf Tournament. The tournament, a four-man team scramble, will be held July 15 at the Helena Country Club. It has become a focus for many east Arkansas agriculture-related businesses.

“The tournament is a lot fun, but it’s helping people, too. It helped provide seven scholarships for the class entering the university this fall,” said Johnny Roach, one of the organizers. “The scholarships are for freshmen and provide $1,000 per semester ($2,000 annually).”

Roach says Jim Barrentine, chairman of the Crop, Soils and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, is the originator of the idea.

“He’s absolutely pivotal in making this work,” said Roach, who is with Hornbeck Seed. “About eight years ago, before the golf tournament was even set up, the Student Enhancement Committee was formed. The tournament, which has been going for about six years, sprung from that. The effort started with just a handful of folks, and now there are at least 25 active committee members.”

What was the reason for the committee’s formation? “The CSES Department, way up there in the northwest corner of the state, needed some support in recruiting students from the Delta. Our group has been an extension of the university into the row-crop areas. We set some goals to try and increase the enrollment in the department and we’ve reached them. Having talented young people involved in these academic fields is important for the future and health of agriculture in the state.”

The committee visits high schools to recruit for the department. From that experience, Roach said, the need to provide scholarships evolved.

“We’ve also endowed a scholarship in the name of Dr. Barrentine. We’re very proud of that. Thus far, it’s only partially endowed. But we’ll keep adding more money every year until it’s fully endowed.”

For more information, contact Roach at 870-814-5012.