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

From the Director

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division is excited about the opportunities to increase conservation on the ground in 2024.  We are blessed to have so many great partners across the state that share common goals and desires to sustain our natural resources for future generations. Within the Natural Resources Division, we are partnering with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to update the State Water Plan. This will be a two-year commitment of time and financial resources aimed at strategically managing our water resources. The water plan update process will take a comprehensive look at water supply, water use, water quality, infrastructure, flooding, and more. As part of this process, we will be seeking input from stakeholders.

The Natural Resources Division wishes you all a very safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to beginning a new year and working with conservation districts and many of our partners across the state. 

Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts Accepting Applications for Dave Ferguson Scholarship Contest

The Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) is currently accepting applications for the Dave Ferguson Scholarship Contest. Scholarship applicants must live in their respective district, have a GPA of at least 2.5, and intend to follow a conservation-related major at an Arkansas college or university. Applicants are required to include two letters of recommendation, a minimum 750-word essay, and two photos in support of the essay. 

The theme for this year's contest is "May the Forest Be With You Always" and essays should include the following:

  • Define the benefits of healthy forestland and identify the many ways that healthy forests affect the quality of life for people. Discuss the beneficial roles of forests in healthy condition which can be surprisingly far-reaching and enhance the economy, ecosystem, and landscapes.
  • Give an overview of activities that can be implemented by landowners, farmers, organizations, and others to enhance and improve their forest land management.
  • Identify how the conservation district can help landowners address the resource concern that results from the lack of forest management or desire to improve forest management.
  • Provide an actual example of a landowner/organization that has been helped by the conservation district.

Applications and essays should be submitted to district offices by February 16, 2024.

Important Dates to Remember

  • February 16, 2024 – Deadline for applications to be received in district offices
  • April 19, 2024 – Deadline for applications to be received by the area presidents
  • June 14, 2024 – Deadline for area winners to be received in the AACD State Office

Additional information on the contest can be found here.

New Interactive Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Story Map

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division recently developed an interactive story map for the Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy (ANRS). The story map explains the ANRS and has interactive maps that estimate the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions that conservation practices are achieving in Arkansas. Find the story map here and learn more about the ANRS here.

Success Story: Cutter Morning Star High School

The Garland County Conservation District (GCCD), along with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), provided gardening advice to students in an EAST class at Cutter Morning Star High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The class recieved a grant to enhance and expand their existing garden space. The grant was provided to the GCCD by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Division.

The students are interested in growing fruits and vegetables to be used by the school and local community. NRCS personnel instructed students on a variety of topics including high tunnels, raised garden beds, and soil health. Overall, the students were enthusiastic to augment their garden and the visit provided students with more information on having a successful garden in an urban area. The GCCD is planning to continue outreach efforts with the students in 2024.

What is the Technical Service Provider Program?

The Technical Service Provider Program (TSP) was initiated for conservation district employees to be reimbursed for work they provided for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services (USDA-NRCS). Across most of the state, the conservation district and NRCS offices are housed together. Due to overwhelming workloads in NRCS offices and few staff, district employees started assisting with day-to-day operations, such as getting signatures from producers, handling phone calls, filing, and so on.

Want to know if your district could qualify for TSP? Please contact Mary Elizabeth Lea at [email protected].

Technical Service Provider Deadline Reminders:

  • 6th Billing (October, November, December) - Due January 10, 2024
  • 7th Billing (January, February, March) - Due April 10, 2024

Feral Hog Eradication Task Force: September 2023 Update

The Feral Hog Eradication Task Force continued its efforts in November 2023 and removed 501 feral hogs across Arkansas. Additionally, Arkansas residents reported the removal of 74 feral hogs. Learn more about the task force and its efforts here.

Go Red! Program

Groundwater Conservation Tax Credit Program

Arkansas Department of Agriculture News

Over $265 Million Provided for Arkansas Water and Wastewater Projects

On November 15, 2023, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved $265,466,658 in financial assistance for 40 water and wastewater projects serving more than 233,547 Arkansans. The entities approved for funding are as follows:

  • City of Alma, Crawford County
  • City of Altheimer, Jefferson County
  • City of Arkansas City, Desha County
  • Arkansas Environmental Training Academy
  • Bald Knob North Water Public Facilities Board, White County
  • Bee Branch Public Water Authority, Faulkner County
  • City of Bryant, Saline County
  • City of Caldwell, St. Francis County
  • Cedarville Waterworks Facilities Board, Crawford County
  • City of Clarendon, Monroe County
  • City of Clinton, Van Buren County
  • Conway County Regional Water Distribution District, Conway County
  • El Dorado Rural Public Water Authority, Union County
  • City of England, Lonoke County
  • City of Gillett, Arkansas County
  • Grand Prairie Regional Water Distribution District, Arkansas County
  • Grange Calamine Water Association, Sharp County
  • H2Ozarks
  • Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District 1, Carroll County
  • City of Holly Grove, Monroe County
  • City of Humphrey, Jefferson County
  • City of Huntsville, Madison County
  • Illinois River Watershed Partnership
  • City of Judsonia, White County
  • City of Kensett, White County
  • City of Lincoln, Washington County
  • Lost Bridge Village Sewer Improvement District 1 and 2, Benton County
  • City of Mayflower, Faulkner County
  • City of Monette, Craighead County
  • North Garland County Regional Water District, Garland County
  • Parthenon Water Association, Newton County
  • City of Prescott, Nevada County
  • City of Ratcliff, Logan County
  • City of Russellville, Pope County
  • Saline Regional Public Water Authority, Saline County
  • City of Smackover, Union County
  • City of Stephens, Ouachita County
  • Wildwood Water Association, Union County

Additional information on the projects approved for funding can be found here and information on the Natural Resources Division's water and wastewater programs can be found here.

Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo Scheduled for January 2024

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will partner with several Arkansas agricultural associations and organizations to host the second Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo on January 25-27, 2024, at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo is open to all parties interested in the Arkansas agriculture industry and will focus on farmers and producers who produce for the local food system. The three-day event will consist of workshops, speakers, off-site farm tours, networking opportunities, and a vendor trade show.

Partner associations include the Arkansas State Horticulture Society, Arkansas Farmers Market Association, Arkansas Blackberry Growers Association, Arkansas Agritourism Association, Arkansas Association of Grape Growers, Arkansas Pecan Growers Association, Mid America Strawberry Growers Association, and the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

Registration includes access to general sessions, workshops, and entrance to the expo. Opportunities for sponsorship and vendor booths are available. For more information, contact Beth Moore at [email protected].

Register and learn more about the Arkansas Grown Conference and Expo here.

Attention Water Users!

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division (NRD) would like to remind all water users of qualifying groundwater (well) and/or surface water (relift) that you have until March 1, 2023, to get your withdrawals registered for the current registration period.


In accordance with state laws, any non-domestic user of a well that has the potential to withdraw at least 50,000 gallons/day (35 gallons/min flow rate) or any user of a relift that withdraws one acre-foot (325,851 gallons) or more in a year’s time, must report their annual water usage between October 1 and March 1 each year. There is a $10 registration fee per well/relift which must be paid during this time as well. (This is also required for idle non-exempt wells or relifts that have not been abandoned.)


Any water users that fail to register a qualifying well or relift by March 1 may be subject to one of the following penalties:

  • Failure to register by March 1: Written notice sent
  • Failure to register by April 1: $25.00 penalty
  • Failure to register by June 30: $50.00 penalty
  • Failure to register by September 30: $100.00 penalty

The NRD may assess the maximum $500 late reporting penalty if it is determined that a registrant continues to fail to register.


Users that normally register withdrawals at your local conservation district office should contact that office and make arrangements to get your registration completed. If you receive a registration packet in the mail directly from the NRD, just follow the instructions within the packet and return to the NRD as directed.

If you have withdrawals that have never been registered, or would like more information about this program, visit here or contact Blake Forrest at or by phone at (501) 682-3904.

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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.