Through the Ingrain Good initiative, Riceland Foods and its farmer members aim to reduce water use in rice production by 250 billion gallons by 2025 in Arkansas and Missouri. The co-op and its members plan to do this through the promotion, adoption and implementation of efficient irrigation tools and techniques, according to a news release.
Water-use efficiency has been a focal point of the U.S. rice industry for years. According to USA Rice’s sustainability report, U.S. rice farmers were able to reduce irrigation water use by 52% from 1980 to 2015. With Arkansas and Missouri accounting for over half of the U.S. rice crop, Riceland members played a significant role in these reductions.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Noble said Riceland is committed to creating lasting sustainable changes as a cooperative.
“Our rice farmers depend on water,” he said in the release. “We, as a cooperative, depend on large volumes of rice. We see this as an opportunity to work with our members, not only to achieve our collective goal, but to work with our valued customers to help them achieve their goals, too.”
In January, Riceland announced irrigation water management as its inaugural sustainability theme. Over the past eight months, the co-op has partnered with the University of Arkansas, Arkansas Natural Resources Conservation Service and Delta Plastics to promote sustainable irrigation water management throughout the membership as well as the supply chain.