Engineers Work With Arkansas Farmers to Develop Sustainable Rice Production

Ben Runkle
Russell Cothren

Ben Runkle

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas engineers are working with Arkansas farmers to develop more sustainable methods for growing rice that increase production and reduce the demand for water.

Benjamin Runkle, assistant professor of biological engineering, and Chris Isbell, a rice farmer in Humnoke, are working together to develop more effective rice production techniques to reduce water use on the Isbell family farm.

What they’re learning can be translated to farmers across the state and around the world, conserving water and protecting the environment. Arkansas is the nation’s top producer of rice, harvesting more than 9 billion pounds each year.

“Benjamin Runkle has only been with us for a few years, but his work is already changing lives in Arkansas and around the world,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering.

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About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Amy Schlesing, director of science and research communications
University Relations


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