New program for Missouri rice growers improves water use, waterfowl habitat

USA Rice, Ducks Unlimited and NRCS offer assistance through RCPP

ST. LOUIS – Oct. 21, 2015 – Rice farmers in nine Missouri counties can apply for financial assistance to make on-farm improvements through Nov. 20, thanks to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Rice Stewardship Partnership Project, sponsored by USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited.

The RCPP program will assist rice producers who voluntarily implement conservation and management practices focused on providing winter habitat in rice fields for waterfowl and other birds. Additional practices that help improve irrigation water management and control sediment and nutrient runoff are also offered.

"The main goal is to provide winter wetland habitat, while also considering groundwater demand from aquifers in rice production areas to ensure sustainability of that water source for future rice production," DU Director of Conservation Innovation Scott Manley said.

Eligible areas for this special funding opportunity include Missouri's Bollinger, Butler, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Scott and Stoddard counties.

"Interested rice producers need to visit their local NRCS office as soon as possible," Manley said. "This partnership between USA Rice, Ducks Unlimited and NRCS is designed to help rice producers address water quantity and quality, as well as wildlife habitat on their farm."

Funding for this project will be available to rice producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers should visit their local USDA service center before the Nov. 20, deadline to apply.

Additional information on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

Media contact:
Chris Sebastian
(734) 623-2017