A partnership between Corteva Agriscience and Ducks Unlimited is empowering rice producers to leverage additional federal conservation dollars and boost their environmental stewardship efforts.
The USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership focuses on supporting agronomic and land-use practices that conserve water and provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl.
“Corteva Agriscience is vested in the sustainability of our customers, and we especially value this partnership with Ducks Unlimited,” says LeAnn Bruns, rice product manager for Corteva Agriscience. “This partnership givesfarmers the resources and knowledge to ensure the health and productivity of their land for today and for future generations. It’s a win for farmers, waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and Corteva.”
“The sponsorships by Corteva Agriscience and 21 other rice industry members allow this program to distribute added funding over and above what would normally be available for rice conservation efforts,” says Scott Manley, Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Innovation. “Without these sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to supply the added boots on the ground, the added technical advisers and the added rice specialists that help this program run so efficiently. We certainly wouldn’t be as successful at bringing the program to producers.”
This partnership provides additional conservation funding through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS’s) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The program’s funding goes directly to farmers who have a rice component.
Approximately 600,000 acres of U.S. riceland have been enrolled in the program, substantially enhancing land and water conservation practices in the region.
The Rice Stewardship Partnership has provided more than $80 million to help rice producers across six states install and implement new conservation measures on their farms, Manley says.
The conservation practices this project leverages are similar to those normally eligible for EQIP and CSP. Administered by NRCS, this program adds private funding to the pool and prioritizes rice-related conservation practices that may not receive funding using the standard EQIP or CSP ranking criteria.
While growers in all rice-producing states are eligible for the program, eligible conservation and habitat practices differ state to state.
Approved conservation measures generally consist of management efficiency practices, such as flow meters and moisture sensors to manage irrigation. Conservation practices aimed at using surface water in place of groundwater for irrigation are also a focus.
For more information about how your farm can participate in this program, contact Scott Manley with Ducks Unlimited at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-956-1936, or Josh Hankins with USA Rice at email@example.com or 501-398-6678.