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STUTTGART, Ark. – Gliding through flooded fields with nary a wake, the professionals
make rice walking look easy. It’s anything but.
The bottom can be slick. The mud tugs at your boots. The water is always deeper than
expected and the levees are foot catchers. However, it’s a necessary part of raising
the crop in Arkansas, the nation’s No. 1 rice grower.
So how do the pros manage it without coming a cropper?
Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture, offers his top five tips for rice walking:
5. Make sure your boots are tall enough for the water in which you’re walking.
4. Be tall – it’s easier to cross levees.
3. Leave electronics in the truck.
2. Ditches and washouts are always deeper than you think.
… and the No. 1 rule of rice walking: Don’t fall.
Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent for the Division of Agriculture has about
40 years of rice walking under his boots.
“It is always easier before the flood,” he said with a laugh. “As my dad would say,
‘someone has to walk those fields and today looks like our day. You can’t tell much
from the truck window. You’ve got to get out there where the problems are and fix
Just the other day, Perkins said “I filled one of my boots up when installing a flow
meter. That's why an extra pair of socks and dry boots are nice to carry. Growing
up, we all just went in our tennis shoes but that leads to water buildup in your floorboard.”
As the voice of experience, Perkins has some splashes of wisdom for any rice walker:
For more information about rice production, visit your county extension office, www.uaex.uada.edu or http://arkansascrops.com.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com