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FAQs about Agriculture in Arkansas

Learn everything you need to know about farming in Arkansas

Unless you grew up farming in Arkansas, you likely have a few questions about the things you’ve seen and heard about in the state’s agricultural regions. Read on to find answers to the most frequently asked questions about agriculture in Arkansas.

What are those tall buildings out in the fields?

They’re probably grain elevators or dryers. Rice, soybeans, wheat and milo are all grains that require drying. Besides keeping the rice irrigated, flooding helps keep out weeds and pests while the seeds are sprouting and growing.

Why do the farmers flood their rice fields?

Besides keeping the rice irrigated, flooding helps keep out weeds and pests off the property while the seeds are sprouting and growing.

What’s growing in those flooded fields?

Rice.

How much does one of those tractors cost?

$50,000 to $400,000 depending on their use.

Why does rice need to be dried?

Rice is very moist when it’s harvested by threshing and part of its production involves drying it quickly for transportation, storage and packaging to retain its nutritional value.

What do mills do with all those small logs (the ones that aren’t large enough to use for lumber)?

They go to paper mills where they are used to produce paper.

How many chickens live in one of those long houses?

Depending on the length of the house, there could be anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 chickens.

How much lumber does an average tree produce?

An average pine tree produces 132 board feet of lumber.

How did the farmer get his fields so level – and why?

Using a rotating laser set in the middle of the field, the farmer points a beam that communicates with sensors fixed on a land scraper pulled by a tractor to achieve precision leveling across acres of land. The scraper pulls dirt from high areas and redistributes it in low areas to create a level field, which makes watering more efficient and effective.

What are those low-flying airplanes spraying on the fields?

Airplanes, also known as cropdusters, are sowing grain or distributing fertilizer, herbicides or insecticides.

Just how deep is the soil in the Delta and where did it come from?

While the average depth of soil in the world ranges from a few inches to a couple of feet, the soil in the Arkansas Delta has been deposited by millions of years of river floods and reaches the depth of well over 100 feet in some places, making for fertile land that’s perfect for farming in Arkansas.

How is winter wheat able to grow during the cold months?

Winter wheat is planted and sprouts before the first big freeze, then lays mostly dormant until spring when the soil begins to warm and growing starts again. Wheat crops are generally ready for harvest in mid-summer.

So, why are blueberries so good for you?

They contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which some believe reduce the effects of aging and help prevent cancer.

What kinds of fish are raised in all those ponds?

They could be catfish, crawfish or shrimp for the dinner table (and restaurants), but there are also a lot that produce baitfish and stockfish for hatcheries (like largemouth bass) and even goldfish and other ornamental fish like the ones at the pet store.

Are there any Arkansas manufacturers that make agriculture-related products?

There are more than 90 companies in Arkansas that make agriculture-related products, mostly in the form of feed and seed for livestock and crops. Farm machinery makers produce tanks, rollers, scraper blades, animal watering systems and other types of equipment that are used for agriculture in Arkansas and other places around the country.

What’s the difference between grape juice and wine?

Wine is stored for a time in huge containers while it ferments with yeast. That converts the sugar in the grape juice to carbon dioxide and alcohol.