Born in Remmel in Jackson County to a tenant cotton farmer, Bobby Allen Huey went on to spend 33 years working on behalf of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. In 1970, Huey became the first full-time rice extension specialist at the university’s rice branch experiment station in Stuttgart, where he would spend the last 20 years of his career.
Huey graduated with honors from Newport High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in agronomy-soils from the University of Arkansas in 1955. In his early years, Huey played semi-professional baseball in the Delta League and in the Southeast Missouri League and, in 1965, he earned a master of science degree in Agronomy-Soils. Through the years, Huey got to know the state and its variety of crops through positions as an assistant county extension agent in Cross County, an extension farm management position in Clay County and as an associate county extension agent in Corning. He served as Lonoke County extension staff chairman from 1965 to 1970.
During his tenure as rice extension specialist, Arkansas experienced dramatic growth in rice acreage, from just over 300,000 acres to more than 1.8 million acres. Huey supported this growth by helping ramp up educational efforts on new rice research and assisting Arkansas farmers as they tried new growing techniques.
Huey received numerous honors for his work through the years, including an Extension Specialist of the Year Award, an Arkansas Farm Bureau Service Award, the Arkansas Rice Festival Appreciation Award, John White Outstanding Extension Award and a “Friend of the Farmer” Award from Riceland Foods Inc. In addition, Huey was granted “emeritus” rank by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees in appreciation for “contributions to the progress of the University of Arkansas” and he was recognized for 30 years of service to Arkansas agriculture by the Arkansas Plant Food Educational Society.
Awards aside, Huey says the greatest honor in his years of work was “to know that I helped my family and a good number of families in Arkansas improve their standard of living by producing a little more income.”