Louisiana: Kellogg Sustainability Efforts Drive Creation of LSU Master Rice Grower Program
Officials with the Louisiana State University (LSU) AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), and Ducks Unlimited met last week with representatives of the Kellogg Co. to work on details for a Master Rice Grower program, which aims to encourage sustainable farming practices. A component of the program will include the Louisiana Master Farmer program, developed in 2001 to help farmers adopt soil and water conservation practices.
“We are confident that this will be a positive program for farmers who grow rice for Kellogg,” said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU Rice Research Station and a member of USA Rice Federation’s Sustainability Task Force. “Many farmers are already doing what will be included in the program.”
LSU Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil said the university is finalizing improvements to the Master Farmer certification process that will enable more farmers to achieve certification and meet the requirements of the program and Kellogg sustainability requirements.
Bill Dore of Louisiana Rice Mill said the program will strengthen the relationship between the Louisiana Rice industry and Kellogg. “They are the most important rice buyer in Louisiana,” Dore said.
One of the key aspects of the Master Rice Grower program is recognition of the contribution that rice farming makes to waterfowl habitat. Ducks Unlimited’s Jerry Holden said maintaining habitat for waterfowl is critical. “It’s one of DU’s five highest priorities on the continent. Rice is really good for ducks,” he said.
The Master Grower program is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks and it could be ready to present to rice farmers in June.
USA Rice continually works with sectors throughout the rice industry to enhance the sustainability profile of rice. A 2010 study funded by The Rice Foundation showed that rice farmers have become increasingly efficient over the past 20 years and are producing more rice using fewer inputs.