FAYETTEVILLE – Nathan Slaton, head of the Arkansas Soil Testing Lab, and a former Jefferson County extension agent, was appointed assistant director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station effective July 1.

Jean-Francois Meullenet, director of the experiment station, announced the appointment June 21.

“I am thrilled about Dr. Slaton’s willingness to become a full-time member of the Agricultural Experiment Station’s administrative team,” Meullenet said.

“Nathan’s experience in production agriculture and his knowledge of our statewide facilities will be invaluable to me as we make investments in our research infrastructure, develop strategies to increase research funding in the Division of Agriculture and maximize our impact in Arkansas and beyond,” Meullenet said.

Slaton, a professor in crops soils and environmental science, had been serving as an assistant director, part-time, for the Experiment Station since 2016. As full-time assistant director, he will retain leadership at the soil test lab, as well as overseeing all of the Division of Agriculture’s analytical testing services.

He will also be acting as administrative liaison for some of the state’s commodity boards as well as the Division of Agriculture’s stations dedicated to research.

Slaton succeeds Rick Roeder, who retires June 30 after 16 years as associate director.

“Since Nathan joined the division in 1989 as an extension agent, he has demonstrated strength in every phase of his career with us — through all three land grant missions of teaching research and extension,” said Mark Cochran, vice president-agriculture, for the University of Arkansas System and head of the system’s Division of Agriculture.

“Over the last few years, Nathan clearly demonstrated the qualities of a leader who can keep the experiment station strong for the people we serve,” he said.

Slaton is an Indiana native, raised on a small family farm near Evansville.

“I want to thank Dr. Cochran and Dr. Meullenet for giving me the opportunity to serve the Division of Agriculture and our stakeholders in a new capacity,” Slaton said. “I look forward to promoting and developing Division of Agriculture programs that advance scientific discovery by our faculty and enhance the productivity and sustainability of Arkansas producers.”

Slaton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy at Murray State University at Murray, Kentucky, and a master’s degree and PhD in agronomy at the University of Arkansas.

He joined the Division of Agriculture as a Jefferson County extension agent. He served an area extension rice agronomist from 1990—95 before being named extension agronomist rice in 1995. In 2001, he moved to the agricultural experiment station side of the Division of agriculture as an assistant professor and director of soil testing. In 2009, he was named a professor. In 2016, he was appointed as a part-time assistant director of the station.

To learn more about the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment station, visit www.aaes.uark.edu.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.

— Mary Hightower is director of Communication Services at the U of A System Division of Agriculture.