Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Rural Services

The Division of Rural Services (DRS) is charged with assisting rural communities with a population of 20,000 and under. Established under Act 302 of 1991, and merged with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission under Act 8 of the 2015 First Extraordinary Session, DRS assists local agencies in rural areas with information and technical assistance. The mission of the Arkansas Economic Development, Division of Rural Services and the Arkansas Rural Development Commission is to enhance the quality of life in rural Arkansas. Currently, more than 80% of Arkansans live in rural areas. The Division of Rural Services strives to assist citizens of rural Arkansas through in-house grant programs, funding opportunity research, information-sharing and educational opportunities through regional forums and the annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference.

Alex Johnston

Director, Rural Services
(501) 682-6012
(501) 682-7499
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2017 Arkansas Rural Development Conference

We hope you will join us for the 2017 Arkansas Rural Development Conference!
This year’s event will be hosted in beautiful, historic Hot Springs on May 23-25th.

Grant Deadlines

Game and Fish Wildlife Conservation Education Grant Program

Cycle II Deadline: February 23, 2017 

Rural Community Grant Program
Deadline: March 9, 2017

County Fair Building Grant Program
Deadline: March 9, 2017

Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program
Deadline: March 9, 2017

Save the Date
Rural Services Conference
May 23-25 in Hot Springs, AR.

Programs
County Fair Building Grant Program

County fairs located in counties with a population of less than 55,000 are eligible for up to $4,000 per fiscal year for construction, renovation or general improvements of count fair buildings or purchase of items shown to directly improve the building or the services that the county fair association may provide. This grant requires a 50/50 match. Applications are accepted August through March of each year. 

Rural Community Grant Program

Applicants from incorporated towns of less than 3,000 in population and unincorporated rural areas are eligible for up to $15,000 in matching funds under the Rural Community Grant Program. Communities are eligible to apply for community development and fire protection projects and are required a 50/50 match. Applications for this program are accepted August through March of each year. 

Rural Services Block Grant Program

The Rural Services Block Grant funds new construction or renovation of community centers, fire stations, or multi-purpose buildings, and the purchase of fire trucks. Applicants are eligible for up to $75,000 and requires a 10% match. Grants are available to incorporated towns and rural communities with a population of less than 3,000. Additionally, the community population must be at least 51% Low to Moderate income. Applications are accepted in December of each year. 

Wildlife Conservation Education Grant Program

The Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Conservation Education Grant Program (formerly the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fine Money Grant Program) stems from a 2015 Arkansas Legislative Act that modified the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Education program’s structure and placed the updated program under the administration of the Division of Rural Services. This program is a partnership between the Division of Rural Services and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission that converts fine money assessed from infractions of state laws protecting Arkansas game and fish, into grant funds for school conservation education programs.

Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program

The Arkansas Unpaved Roads program was created to improve the unpaved county road system with a reduced negative environmental impact on priority water resources in Arkansas. This program focuses on best management practices that reduce the impact of sediment and road runoff to streams, rivers, and drinking water supplies while reducing long term unpaved county road maintenance costs. Applicants with an eligible project may apply for up to $75,000 in state matching funds toward a single project. All proposed and funded projects are required to have at least a 50 percent match contribution.