The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division is dedicated to conserving Arkansas’s land and water resources.

Arkansas Storm Recovery Information

Following the storms on March 31, Governor Sanders launched a new website where storm

victims can find the federal, state, local, and nonprofit resources available for their recovery. The

website can be found here.

The Arkansas Disaster Relief Program is available to assist those impacted by disasters across the

state of Arkansas. Under the Arkansas Disaster Relief Program, the Arkansas Division of

Emergency Management (ADEM) is able to provide funds for immediate needs for disaster relief

to communities experiencing major impacts from a DECLARED disaster. These funds are to be

utilized as additional state and federal program availability are being determined. Donate to the

Arkansas Disaster Relief Program here.

Additionally, anyone in the state impacted by the storms who has injured or missing animals,

including livestock and pets, can contact the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Dispatch Center

at (800) 468-8834.

Rich Mountain and Cossatot Conservation Districts Host Annual Forestry and Land Judging Contest

On March 29, Rich Mountain Conservation District and Cossatot Conservation District hosted their annual Forestry and Land Judging Contest with a wildlife training clinic. There were approximately 35 participants in the land event and 26 participants in the forestry event. There were 40 participants from eight different schools in the wildlife training clinic with Polk, Sevier, Montgomery, Pike, Howard, and Little River counties represented.

In the forestry contest, the highest scoring teams were Cossatot River with a total of 805 points, Mount Ida with a total of 787 points, and Mena with a total of 708 points. Kody Bailey of Cossatot River was the highest scoring individual, followed by Jacob Woodfield of Mount Ida in second place, and Brodie Dickerson of Cossatot River in third place.

In the land judging contest, the highest scoring teams were Dierks with a total of 1592 points, Foreman with a total of 1419 points, and De Queen with a total of 1265 points. Mackay Smith of Dierks was the highest scoring individual, followed by Gavin Bailey of Dierks in second place, and Sawyer Stapp of Dierks in third place.

The Rich Mountain and Cossatot conservation districts thank the agriculture teachers who work tirelessly with the students, the volunteers that made this event possible, and the following for their contributions:

  • Ramsey Richardson, Double R Forge
  • Sheila Sikes, Sheila's Little Craft Room
  • Johnny Garringer, West-Ark Septic Service and Construction
  • Tyson Foods
  • Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division
  • Corp of Engineers
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

Feral Hog Eradication Task Force: February 2023 Update

The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in February 2023 and removed 874 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of six feral hogs. Learn more about the Task Force and its efforts here.

2022 Arkansas Groundwater Protection and Management Report Available Now

Each year the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division (NRD) produces a report on the condition of the state’s groundwater resources. This report provides a summary of the groundwater monitoring and current water levels, NRD protection and conservation programs, and water use reporting during the 2022 calendar year. The report also provides comparisons to previous years to identify overall trends. The data collected for this report is used to influence policy and program recommendations, such as Critical Groundwater Area designations.

The general trend in Arkansas’s long-term water-level change is that the groundwater levels in certain areas of the state are declining in response to continued withdrawals at rates which are not sustainable. Based on the most current available water use data, only approximately 44% of the withdrawal from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial aquifer, and approximately 55% of the Sparta/Memphis aquifer withdrawal are sustainable. At these pumping rates, water-level declines and the adverse impacts on the state’s groundwater system will continue to be observed. Find the full report here.

New this year is an interactive story map version of the Groundwater Protection and Management Report that allows the user to look at the maps in greater detail with in-depth visuals. The Groundwater Story Map can be found here.

NRD staff and federal agency partners will be collecting spring 2023 data throughout the month of April for the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial aquifer, the Sparta/Memphis aquifer, and the Nacatoch and Tokio aquifers within the state.

The NRD partners with county conservation districts to offer tax credits to encourage the implementation of several conservation methods proven to reduce reliance on groundwater resources for irrigation. Contact your local conservation district for application information.

For questions regarding the 2022 Groundwater Protection and Management Report, contact Corbin Cannon by phone at 501 682-3983 or by email at corbin.g.cannon@agriculture.arkansas.

gov. For more information on the Groundwater Conservation Tax Credit Program, contact Christy Steward by phone at 501 682-1697 or by email at For water use registration questions, contact Mike Guess by phone at 501 682-3966 or by email at

Arkansas Agriculture Water Quality Loan Program Provides Low-Cost Loans to Landowners

Submitted by: Amy Theriac, Program Outreach Coordinator

The Arkansas Agriculture Water Quality Loan Program (AWQLP) provides low-interest loans to landowners to use best management practices (BMPs) for installation of conservation practices that reduce nonpoint source pollution (NPS) impacts to water quality.

To ensure AWQLP funds are available, it is important that conservation districts remind their financial institutions to contact the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division (NRD) before closing a loan to check the AWQLP fund balance. Once funding availability is confirmed, the financial institution can proceed with the loan closing.

These loans are for agricultural BMPs that address NPS concerns and provide some water quality benefit with a direct effect on NPS control, reduction, or abatement. With a three percent interest rate for terms up to 10 years, farmers and landowners can apply for assistance, up to $250,000 per entity, with assistance from their local conservation district. AWQLP projects can include land leveling, no-till drilling, tailwater recovery, and fencing/cross fencing.

After a loan is closed, conservation districts will receive a district fee at a rate of 0.50% of the loan amount. The table below shows how much a conservation district would receive based on a loan amount.

To apply for an AWQLP loan, landowners and conservation districts should follow these steps:

  1. The landowner starts the process by going to their local conservation district to get an application and schedule an on-site visit by the conservation district or the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
  2. The conservation district or NRCS makes the on-site visit.
  3. The conservation district or NRCS takes the BMP(s) that the landowner wants to use and develops a project plan for implementation.
  4. The conservation district submits a project plan and funding application to the NRD for approval.
  5. The NRD notifies the conservation district of approval/denial of the project plan.
  6. Upon project plan approval, the conservation district provides the landowner with a certificate of qualification showing that the landowner is eligible for the program.  

The landowner will then take the funding application and the project plan to a participating financial institution. The financial institution will then follow these steps:

  1. The financial institution performs the normal loan review process and approves or denies the loan.
  2. If the loan is approved, prior to loan closing, the financial institution will contact the NRD for funding availability.
  3. In the event that funding is not available, the loan is added to the NRD wait list. When the funds become available, the NRD contacts the financial institution.
  4. The financial institution closes the loan with the landowner. 
  5. A fee from the loan proceeds is collected for the conservation district. The fee is equal to one-half percent of the total loan amount.
  6. The financial institution notifies the NRD that the loan is closed and the NRD deposits funds in a non-interest bearing account at the financial institution.

The landowner is then able to use the funds from the approved loan to construct the BMP(s) in the project plan. The landowner will contact their conservation district to schedule an inspection of the work upon project completion. The conservation district will conduct an inspection and provide a list of additional improvements that need to be made or certify that the project was done in accordance with the project plan. The landowner then repays the financial institution.

Visit here for more information about the AWQLP or contact Leah Johannes by phone at 501-682-0549 or by email at

AWQLP projects can include land leveling (top left), tailwater recovery (top right), or fencing/cross fencing (left).

Conservation District Director Appointments and Elections

At its meeting on March 15, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) approved three new conservation district director appointments, five reappointments, and one director moving from an elected to an appointed position.

New director appointments are:

  • Burthel Thomas, Jefferson County
  • Matt Tucker, Jefferson County
  • Randy Young, Pope County

Reappointed directors are:

  • Roy Johnson, Dallas County
  • Thomas Frazer, L'aigle Creek
  • Bruce Ferguson, Miller County
  • Wallace Willoughby, Poinsett County
  • Roy Reaves, Pope County

Position changes are:

  • Gary Grigg, Carroll County

Additionally, the ANRC approved 71 new district directors for the 25 conservation districts that had an election on March 7. The results of the election are as follows:

Arkansas County – Brandon Bauman, Jackie Johnson, Heath Stephens

Ashley County – Lonni Davis, Randy Haynes, James Meeks

Benton County – Paul Geurin, Bill Haak, Reggie Smith

Chicot County – Caleb Gates, Keith Hunter, Joe Mencer

Crittenden County – Robert Gammill, Sam Pirani, Jamey Sharp

Crooked Creek – Kevin Flippin, Terry Ott, Carla Shipman

Desha County – Shirley Dunnahoe, Steven French, Lou Ann Sales

Drew County – Frank Appleberry, Jolene Hammock, Thad Mitchell

Franklin County – Joe Burton, Dustin Walker, Tom White

Grant County – John Mitchell, Hunter Phelps, Troy Wood

Hot Spring County – Larry Guin, Sanford Nix, Alvin Starkey

Independence County – Jonathan Baxter, Parmer Hankins

Izard County – Rocky Campbell, Judy Harber, Dale Harmon

Jackson County – Josh Loftin, Carey Robertson, Micahlene Soden

Johnson County – Michael Barr, Mark Morgan, Charles Plugge

Lafayette County – Stephen Allen, Copie Dickson, Reid Hays

L’aigle Creek – Don Hamilton

Lawrence County – Andrew Jones, Heath Teel, Roger Tinsley

Lee County – Chad Glass, Justin Higgins, Scott Stepp

Lincoln County – Lynne Alder, Kevin Blagg, John McGraw

Madison County – Larry Easterling, Kenneth McLoud, Ronnie Villines

Miller County – Steve Boyce, Steven Boyce, Thomas Olson

Mine Creek – Kirk Bell, John Jamison

Mississippi County – Vance Austin, Weston Cissell, Cole Hawkins

Montgomery County – Andrew Irwin, Steve Irwin, Rodney Standridge

For more information about conservation district appointments, reappointments, and change of positions, please contact Mary Elizabeth Lea by email at or by phone at (501) 682-3953.

Technical Service Providers (TSP) Deadline Reminders
  • 4th Billing (April, May, June) – Due July 12
  • 5th Billing (July, August, September) – Due October 11
  • 6th Billing (October, November, December) – Due January 10

2023 Arkansas Grown Magazine


The latest edition of the Arkansas Grown magazine is here! With more than 25 features about Arkansas agriculture, there's something for everyone. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state.

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The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.