UACES Facebook Irrigation, water management schools planned for 2020
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Feb. 6, 2020

Irrigation, water management schools planned for February, March

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast facts

  • No cost to attend Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation school
  • MIRI and surge/sensor schools held on request, contact local extension office

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STUTTGART, Ark. — Arkansas crop producers who want to get better control of their water use during the 2020 growing season will have several opportunities through a series of irrigation and water management schools.

Chris Henry, associate professor and water management engineer for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the class size and curriculum of each school is designed for maximum impact for growers.

“The schools are ‘small group’ with short instruction, and include practical exercises,” Henry said.

Surge/Soil Moisture Sensor Schools

Surge and Soil Moisture Sensor Schools will cover use, layout and programming of surge valves for different soil types and conditions. There are five schools presently scheduled in February and March, and others may be scheduled as requested.

The schools teach participants the basics of soil moisture sensors and how to use them to schedule irrigation. Participants will make a set of Watermark™ sensors in the school. Instructors will also discuss using surge valves to improve irrigation efficiency.

The cost of the school is $500, which includes four sensors, a slide hammer installation tool and a manual reader for those who do not have the tools needed to use sensors. The industry has provided a deep discount on the supplies need to get started with sensors, so that participants can get the tools they need to use sensors effectively for irrigation.

Surge/Soil Moisture Sensor schools run from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; interested participants should contact the schools’ respective instructors to register.

Currently scheduled schools include:

  • Feb. 11 – Jonesboro – Craighead County Extension Office, 611 East Washington Ave., Jonesboro, AR 72401. To register, contact Branon Thiesse or Chris Grimes at 870-933-4565.
  • Feb. 13 – Walnut Ridge – Lawrence County Library Meeting Hall, 115 West Walnut St., Walnut Ridge , AR 72476. To register, contact Bryce Baldridge or Courtney Sisk at 870-886-3741.
  • Feb. 18 – Dumas Dumas Community Center 18 Belmont St., Dumas, AR 71639. To register, contact Amy Wallace 870-628-4542 ext. 3.
  • March 3 – Searcy White County Extension Office, 2400 Old Searcy Landing Road, Searcy, AR 72143. To register, contact Jan Yingling at 501-268-5394.
  • March 6 – Weiner Weiner Rice Festival Building 208 Kings Highway, Weiner, AR 72479. To register, contact Craig Allen or Jeffrey Works at 870-578-4490.

“The school is designed for those that want to use sensors in 2020,” Henry said. “We will prepare participants with all of the items needed so they can walk out the door and install and use sensors on their farm.”

The number of participants for each school is limited to 15-20 people. To have a school hosted in your area, contact your county extension office.

This school is being supported by the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. 

Multiple inlet rice irrigation

The Division of Agriculture is also hosting schools for rice farmers who are using or wish to use Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation on difficult fields. The school teaches growers how to use the Rice Irrigation mobile app to plan MIRI in fields. The school will also show how to use levee survey programs and tractor GPS equipment to create the levee files for the plan. 

“We finally have a tool that allows anyone with a mobile device to design the most complex fields for MIRI at the lowest cost in a matter of minutes,” Henry said. Support for the school is being provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. There is no cost for the school.

For more information about these irrigation schools, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. For a list of offices, see

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to 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.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture 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 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120