MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Aug. 5, 2016 – More rice producers will have the opportunity to increase sustainability and profitability on their farms thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The grant supports work through the USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership.
“We are thrilled to announce a $1-million grant from the Walmart Foundation for our Rice Stewardship work in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and along the Gulf Coast,” said DU Senior Director of Development Chris Cole.
In late 2014, USA Rice and DU secured a $10-million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The majority of the RCPP grant is dedicated to financial assistance for producers who implement conservation practices on their lands through Farm Bill programs.
“DU will serve as the boots-on-the-ground delivery mechanism to provide professional advice to interested landowners,” DU Director of Conservation Innovation Scott Manley explained. “However, only 10 percent of the RCPP grant is dedicated to this role, so we needed to seek additional funding to better support rice growers interested in implementing conservation measures on their farms.”
There are also no RCPP funds to promote conservation efforts to a broader, historically underserved population or to scale conservation practices beyond those currently funded by scarce federal dollars. These are the two areas where the Walmart Foundation’s grant will have the most impact.
Walmart Foundation funding will be used primarily for technical assistance to and training for farm owners, operators and workers. Conservation projects on ricelands will also improve rural economies by using locally sourced contractors and supplies.
As the world’s most widely consumed grain, rice sustains about half of the world’s population. In addition, rice agriculture provides managed wetland resources for North America’s waterfowl and 32 other at-risk wildlife species.
“We are working together with the rice industry and many others to conserve three critical natural resources in North America: working ricelands, water and wetland wildlife. The support of groups like the Walmart Foundation is critical to our ability to make this level of change happen,” Manley said.
Rice Stewardship funders include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the Mosaic Company Foundation, Chevron U.S.A., Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, RiceTec, BASF, American Rice, Inc. – Riviana Foods, Inc., Wells Fargo, Farmers Rice Milling Company, Horizon Ag, Turner’s Creek & Bombay Hook Farms and MacDon Industries.
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 13.6 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.