The Grand Prairie represents the Reese’s peanut-butter cup of Arkansas, our great home state.
Because just like chocolate and peanut butter, the rice and ducks of the Grand Prairie are two great things that go great together. The Grand Prairie, of course, is that sub-region of the Mississippi Delta in eastern Arkansas where much of the nation’s rice is grown and many of its ducks hunted. And Stuttgart, its “capital,” is ground zero for both.
The story behind Stuttgart and the Grand Prairie – and the growth of Arkansas rice and ducks as multi-million dollar industries – is fascinating. Bill Izard takes a look at Stuttgart’s history at PorterBriggs.com. A sample:
In 1921 farmers formed at Stuttgart the Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association, which evolved into Riceland Foods, today the world’s largest miller and marketer of the grain. Arkansas rice, by far the most important crop for the state in the following century, was here to stay.
The ducks were not far behind. Not that ducks had been strangers here before, but the flooded rice fields transformed the area into a wintering wonderland for the fowl. Duck-hunting mania ensued. In 1936 Stuttgart was already so well known for its duck hunting that a national annual duck-calling contest came into being. The winner that year, Thomas Walsh of Greenville, Mississippi, who made the duck-calling sounds with his throat, received a six-dollar hunting jacket. Today’s contest attracts thousands of sportsmen from around the world, and the prize is worth more than $15,000.
Good stuff. Read the full story here.