Stewardship for Sustainable Rice and Wildlife
Rice is the world’s most widely consumed grain, sustaining nearly half the global population. Nearly half of the rice produced in the United States is exported; with 3.15 million acres under rice production (2016)1, rice growers are stewards of wetlands used by North America’s waterfowl and 32 other at-risk species.
As the world’s leader in wetlands conservation, Ducks Unlimited counts the rice industry as a key partner in sustaining the future of waterfowl. Together with USA Rice and with funding from The Mosaic Company Foundation, the Rice Stewardship Partnership was formed. The partnership works in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, where most of the U.S. rice crop is grown, and brings on-farm conservation practices that improve water quality, farm profitability and wildlife habitat to more and more acres.
Working with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Rice Stewardship Partnership helps farmers meet the increasing global demand for quality rice while improving environmental performance and preserving wetlands. Rice producers receive training, knowledge, tools and new practices that help reduce levels of crop nutrients lost to the Mississippi River. Mosaic’s interest in the program stems from a desire to promote the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework (Right Nutrient Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place) at the field level to optimize uptake of nutrients while minimizing environmental impact.
To date, 300,000 acres have been impacted – over 10 percent of U.S. rice acres – making the planet more healthy while providing sustainable rice.
Additional benefits from the partnership include recommendations for water use efficiency, alternative irrigation strategies, and practices that minimize energy use, reduce diesel fuel, and improve rice crop residue management—all of which translate to reduced GHG emissions and improved air and water quality.
- USDA NASS Statistics, 2016 data.