Jackson County, with approximately 18,000 residents, is in the northeastern part of Arkansas, containing about 637 square miles. Since 1892, Newport has been the county seat. Jackson County was formed in 1829 and named after U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Jackson County is located in the rich delta where agriculture is the leading industry, with rice and soybeans being the most widely grown crops. Jackson County farmers also raise corn, milo, beef cattle and catfish. Fishermen catch catfish in the Black River, which forms the county’s northwestern boundary, and trout in the White River, also in western Jackson County. Hunting is popular in the Wildlife Management Area which reaches into four counties including Jackson County. It is home to two school districts, the Newport Special School District and the Jackson County School District. The county is also home to the fast growing Arkansas State University – Newport. In January 1998, the state opened two prisons in Newport: the Scott Grimes Correctional Facility, for males, and the Ronald McPherson Correctional Facility, for women.
Major highways in Jackson County are U.S. Highway 67, Arkansas Highway 37, and Arkansas Highway 367, known as the “Rock and Roll” Highway.
Jackson County hosts one of the top 100 festivals in the nation, known as the Portfest Rollin' on the River Festival. Portfest is held the first full weekend in June each year and is held on the banks of the White River at beautiful Jacksonport State Park. Portfest welcomes approximately 12,000 people during the two-day event. The Jacksonport State Park is located in Jacksonport, three miles north of Newport on Highway 69. In the 1800s, steamboats made Jacksonport a thriving river port. During the Civil War, the town was occupied by both Confederate and Union forces because of its crucial locale. Today, exhibits in the park's 1872 courthouse and programs by park interpreters share the story of this historic river port.