It’s been a rough 2020 so far, but area rice farmers finally got some good news with the recent announcement that the Mid-South Graduated Water Stewardship Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), led by USA Rice, has been renewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a $7 million award from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“The 2018 Farm Bill allows USDA to renew worthy RCPP projects and the Rice Stewardship Partnership’s Mid-South project was an obvious candidate,” said Josh Hankins, the USA Rice field director who manages the Rice Stewardship Partnership.
“This new funding will allow the Partnership to implement working lands conservation practices for rice producers in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.”
To date, Partnership program opportunities have focused on three core areas: water management, nutrient management, and winter habitat for wildlife. The renewed Graduated Water Stewardship RCPP will continue that focus.
“This Mid-South RCPP is one of two renewals landed by the Partnership,” said Scott Manley, director of conservation programs with Ducks Unlimited. “The other is “Improving Water Quality with Nutrient Management Conservation Practice 590″ in south Louisiana.”
The sign-up timelines for these renewal projects have not been finalized but will likely take place in early 2021. That critical information will be shared as soon as it is available.
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“The Graduated Water Stewardship RCPP project has been a model of successful collaboration between partners to maximize the delivery of conservation on the ground in the Mid-South,” said Mike Sullivan, Arkansas state conservationist with NRCS.
The rice industry’s working partnership with NRCS is supported by the following financial sponsors: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the Mosaic Company Foundation, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Chevron U.S.A., RiceTec, Entergy, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, BASF, American Rice, Inc. – Riviana Foods, Inc., the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation, Delta Plastics, Corteva Agriscience, Cargill, Wells Fargo, Farmers Rice Milling Company, Horizon Ag, Turner’s Creek & Bombay Hook Farms, MacDon Industries, Riceland Foods, and Ducks Unlimited.