When David Brown inherited two-thousand acres of forest in Lincoln County nearly 20 years ago, he knew nothing about forestry. He said he traveled to the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus where one of the professors took him under his arm and helped educate him about his land. Now, in 2021, Brown is returning the favor.
Last week, Brett Cunningham, a forestry student at the University of Arkansas at Monticello was awarded the Brown and Wild Turkey Timber Scholarship.
“I owe a huge debt to the graduates of the School of Forestry and am pleased to be able to help a deserving student to further his career,” Brown said.
Andrew Hilton, a procurement forester and representative of Silvicraft, Inc., the company that manages Brown’s timberland, stopped at the university last week to make the presentation.
Brown says he would like to have met Cunningham but Covid-19 has restricted flights. He plans to meet with the Ennis, Texas native later this spring when flights return to normal.
Cunningham, whose interest in forestry began when he was a young child, is a junior at UAM in the College of Forestry, Agriculture & Natural Resources. He is majoring in the Forestry option of the Natural Resources Management degree.
After graduation, Cunningham hopes to manage timber properties for production and other wildlife populations. A career in forestry, he said, will allow him to use his interest in math and problem-solving skills.
David Brown and his wife, Susan, who live in Irvine, California, are good private landowners interested in giving back and finding professionals for the future, according to Hilton.
They are a second-generation landowner, soon to be a third. They have two sons, Andrew, a California lawyer, and Chris, who works in Washington DC. It was Brown’s sons who named the land the Wild Turkey Timber. The entire family has the same mentality. They “want to make sure we have people in place to leave the land intact and better than when they found it and manage it and the wildlife,” Hilton said.
They believe Brett Cunningham meets those standards.
In addition to their forestland, the Browns also operate a rice farm outside Star City. He says he comes to the property nearly a dozen times a year, but because of the pandemic, his visits were limited in 2020-21.
Andrew Hilton is a 2008 graduate of the UAM Forestry program. He received his B.S. in Forestry.