Walmart Foundation supports groundwater conservation efforts for Arkansas' delta

© Michael Furtman

Public and private stakeholders stand ready to benefit from increased investments in agriculture and natural resource conservation thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The $1.15 million grant complements more than $40 million from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support on-farm work and education in eastern Arkansas through the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership.

“We are thrilled to have continued support from the Walmart Foundation for agriculture and natural resource conservation in eastern Arkansas,” said Ducks Unlimited (DU) Director of Agriculture Support, Dr. Scott Manley. “Place-based initiatives bring together diverse stakeholders in productive landscapes to identify shared goals, strategies, and resources to achieve sustainability. Ducks Unlimited, USA Rice, and 25 additional supply-chain partners stand ready to increase the scale and pace of conservation across this important region.” 

To implement shared solutions for groundwater conservation, healthy soils, and wildlife, DU and partners will work with the state's largest industry - agriculture - to bolster the $16 billion worth of economic benefit provided each year. Doing so will include: (a) Expanding partnerships through increased interaction with key public stakeholders, including state, university, and electric utility partners: (b) Pursue current and emerging USDA funding opportunities and act to remove delivery barriers, thus increasing financial resources available for on-farm programs, and (c) Deploy existing supply-chain partners and recruit new ones to teach and promote industry best management practices that result in on-farm solutions for sustainability.

Connecting this agriculture work with DU's initiative to improve forest health across older mature bottomland forests in the state will mesh overall efforts to reflect the true spirit and intent of an eastern Arkansas place-based initiative. Progress is already underway with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on areas such as Hurricane Lake and Bayou DeView Wildlife Management Areas. A prudent investment in forest health at this time will mesh overall efforts to reflect the true spirit and intent of an eastern Arkansas place-based initiative.

“The Walmart Foundation is excited to provide grant funding for Ducks Unlimited’s efforts in our home state of Arkansas,” said Julie Gehrki, VP and COO, Walmart Foundation. “Place-based initiatives like this one have the potential to deliver positive nature impacts at the landscape level. The Rice Stewardship Partnership demonstrates great promise in its collaborative approach and we look forward to the impact it will create.”

For more information, visit, and be sure to follow DU’s Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

About Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit


About the Rice Stewardship Partnership

Rice Stewardship funders include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the Mosaic Company Foundation, NestlĂ© Purina PetCare, Chevron U.S.A., RiceTec, Entergy, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, BASF, American Rice, Inc. – Riviana Foods, Inc., Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation, Delta Plastics, Riceland Foods, Corteva Agriscience, Valley Irrigation, Cargill, Wells Fargo, Farmers Rice Milling Company, Horizon Ag, Turner’s Creek & Bombay Hook Farms, MacDon Industries, Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas, Ben Link Farms, and Ducks Unlimited major sponsors.



Media Contact:

Emily Austin