Charles E. "Chuck" Wilson Jr. has been appointed director of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC) outside Stuttgart, Ark. He has served as interim director since October 2010.

"Based on his performance as interim director and in his previous position as extension rice agronomist, Dr. Wilson is clearly the right person at the right time to provide leadership for the Rice Research and Extension Center,” said Mark J. Cochran, University of Arkansas System vice president for agriculture. “He has the experience and the leadership and management skills we need, and he is highly regarded by his peers and the stakeholders who depend on the research and extension programs based at the center.

"Arkansas farmers produce about half of the rice grown in the United States, and the processing and marketing of rice is also a major contributor to the economy. Important elements of our statewide, multifaceted programs that support our rice industry are based at the Stuttgart center. The faculty members based there also conduct important research and extension programs on companion crops."

Eleven resident faculty members and about 25 other Division of Agriculture scientists conduct research and extension projects at the center. They often collaborate with scientists at the nearby USDA Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center.

As director, Wilson said, "I want to make the center a leader in rice research and Extension, increase the integration of research and extension programs that come out of the center, and provide information that can help Arkansas producers be more productive."

Major support for research and Extension programs is provided by farmers and rice millers through the check-off program administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board and check-off programs for soybeans, corn and grain sorghum, Wilson said.

Wilson has served since 2001 as Cooperative Extension Service rice agronomist based at RREC, and he holds the faculty rank of professor in the Division's department of crop, soil, and environmental sciences.

A native of Crittenden County where he grew up on a small farm, Wilson has a B.S. degree in plant science from Arkansas State University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in soil fertility from the University of Arkansas. After receiving his doctorate in 1992, he spent one year with the Campbell Soup Research and Development Center in Farmington and was a rice specialist at the Southeast Research and Extension Center in Monticello, Ark., from 1993 through 2001 before moving to Stuttgart as CES rice agronomist.

As rice agronomist, Wilson provided educational services to producers and oversight for the Rice Research Verification Program and Rice Variety Testing Program. He was instrumental in projects to improve fertility recommendations for rice, make the DD50 program accessible online, and develop the new nitrogen soil test for rice.