2nd Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: Geography: Why is Arkansas a great place to grow rice?


Arkansas covers 53,104 square miles. It is in the south central United States. The plains of the Mississippi River are to the east. To the north and west are mountains. Arkansas is a blend of mountains, plains and fertile delta.

Farming is the main industry of the state. Rice is one of the major crops. Arkansas became a major rice growing state after 1900. Arkansas and Louisiana harvested one billion 200 million pounds of rice (2 million cwt) on 740,000 acres of land in 1915!

Arkansas has long hot summers and mild winters. The climate is well suited for growing rice.

Southeast Arkansas has very good soil for growing rice. The soil is named after a town called Stuttgart. Stuttgart soil is used primarily for growing crops. Rice grows very well in Stuttgart soil. The soils cover about 200,000 acres in Arkansas. The soil is very deep. It is formed from silt and clay that has flowed from the Mississippi River. Soil that can hold water is ideal for growing rice. The Stuttgart soils hold water well. Much of the rice grown in Arkansas is grown on Stuttgart soil. Silt loam is on the surface of the soil and underneath is the clay that holds the water.

The land on the Lower Mississippi Valley is level to gently sloping. This area is called the Prairie Terraces of the Lower Mississippi. Rice farming is done on level land. With rich, clay soil, level ground, and long hot summers, this area of Arkansas is ideal for growing rice.

Arkansas rice fields provide habitat for fall and winter populations of ducks and geese that migrate to the area. The waterfowl feed heavily on rice left on the rice fields after harvest.

Arkansas grows about 40% of the U.S. rice. The state plants the most rice. It has the most acres of land in rice farms among the other rice growing states. The other states that grow rice are California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. It is not hard to see how important the rice farms of Arkansas are to the U.S. and the world.


On the map of the USA, locate Arkansas.

On the map of Arkansas, find the Mississippi Valley.

List the reasons why the area is ideal for growing rice.


Compare the geographical features of Arkansas with other major rice growing states.

Make a chart showing features that are similar and different.

Similar Different


  • alluvial
  • delta
  • surpassing
  • dominant
  • permeability

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
The Milling Process for Rice:
Getting rice from the field to you takes
a few more steps. Click here to see a video & learn more about the rice milling process.
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