Ag Policy Blog

Wal-Mart Grant to Help Rice Sustainability Efforts

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The Wal-Mart Foundation has kicked in a $1 million grant to help rice growers in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and along the Gulf Coast improve profitability and sustainability in their operations, Ducks Unlimited announced in a news release Friday.

The funding is to be used mostly for technical assistance and training farmer owners, operators and workers. The funds will bolster the USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership between USA Rice and DU to conserve working rice lands, water and wetland wildlife.

USA Rice and DU received a $10 million grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. According to a news release 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 said in a news release.

“However, only 10% 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.”

DU said in the news release, “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.”

Walmart Foundation funding will be used primarily for technical assistance to and training for farm owners, operators and workers. Conservation projects on rice lands are seen as a way to improve rural economies by using locally sourced contractors and supplies, the group said.

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 rice lands, 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 NRCS, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wal-Mart 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.

According to the news release Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres since 1937.

Read more about Ducks Unlimited’s conservation efforts here:…

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