Saturday, March 21, 2015
LL.M. Alumnus Wes Ward Appointed Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture
Wes was recommended by Governor Asa Hutchinson on March 13 and on Friday, the Arkansas Agriculture Board voted to appoint him to the position. He will be sworn into office soon. He will replace Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, who left the position in December. Arkansas's Agriculture Department was created in 2005 and has more than 530 employees. It includes the state Plant Board, the Forestry Commission, the Livestock and Poultry Commission, the Aquaculture Division and the land surveyor, as well as programs that benefit agriculture, such as dairy stabilization, farmers markets, and other promotion and marketing programs.
Wes serves as a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and spent four years on active duty. He then joined the Marine Corps Reserve and attended Arkansas State University, where he received his B.S. degree in agricultural finance, magna cum laude. He received his law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law and then served as Battalion Judge Advocate in the U.S., Marine Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan and to Jordan. He returned to the University of Arkansas to earn his LL.M. degree in Agricultural & Food Law, taking a number of courses in the Masters in Agricultural Economics Program at the Bumpers College of Agriculture. While in the LL.M. Program Wes served as an adjunct professor at the law school.
Wes grew up in Northeastern Arkansas and worked for U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., in 2013 as a field coordinator doing agricultural outreach. He has already spent time talking with the agriculture department's current staff, university contacts and agriculture industry groups.
Wes is quoted in Arkansas Online - "I promise you [that] you won't find find anyone that's going to work any harder for the state and for all our agricultural interests throughout the state." He noted that his long term goals included seeing the department do more to help create agriculture-related jobs and to work with veterans interested in becoming farmers. We have already talked to Wes about finding ways that the LL.M. Program can support and assist him in his new role.