AR Briefly

Wes Ward to continue as agriculture secretary under Huckabee Sanders

By: - December 12, 2022 2:22 pm
A cotton harvesting tractor plucks up cotton on an Arkansas farm. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wes Ward, Arkansas’ current agriculture secretary, will continue in that role in the administration of Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to a Monday press release.

“I look forward to continuing to invest in our strong, dynamic agriculture industry as the secretary of agriculture,” Ward said in the release. “Governor-elect Sanders shares my deep appreciation for how important agriculture is to our state, and we will work together to continue to see it grow to new heights.”

Head shot of Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture
Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture

Sanders praised Ward’s work “growing our largest industry and developing relationships with the men and women who work in agriculture,” Sanders said. “He’s also done this work over the last seven years while continuing to serve our nation in uniform, giving credence to his character and dedication.”

As a U.S. Marine for more than 22 years, Ward has been served on tours of duty in Afghanistan, Jordan and Japan. As a current member of the Marine Corps Reserves, he is currently serving as a detachment commander with the 1st Civil Affairs Group at Camp Pendleton, California.

In announcing her intent to keep Ward on as agriculture secretary, Sanders called agriculture “the backbone of Arkansas’ economy.”

Ward is from the small rural town of Lake City in Northeast Arkansas and is a graduate of Riverside High School. He has a bachelor of science degree in Agricultural Business from Arkansas State University and a law degree, a master of laws degree in Agricultural and Food Law, and a master of science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arkansas.

Ward also serves as the second vice president for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Ward as the state’s third secretary of agriculture in March 2015.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture includes the Forestry Division, Natural Resources Division, Livestock and Poultry Division, and Plant Industries Division.

The department is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for Arkansans and the nation.

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Sonny Albarado
Sonny Albarado

In his 50-year career, Sonny Albarado has been an investigations editor, a business editor, a city editor, an environmental reporter and a government reporter at newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. He retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2020 after serving as projects editor for 12 ½ years and returned to professional journalism in 2022 to lead the Arkansas Advocate. He is a former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and a current member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.