USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Begin RCPP Project Implementation

Application formWASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, August 10, USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited (DU) will officially kick off implementation of their Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) joint project, “Sustaining the Future of Rice”, that was announced in January 2015.

RCPP is funded through the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The USA Rice-DU project matches private and federal funding to help pay for conservation work completed through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited were awarded $10 million in Federal funding with $6.8 million contributed by nearly 40 partner organizations and businesses.

“Our two organizations have worked very hard over the last year-and-a-half to make sure this project is a success,” said Jeff Durand, a Louisiana rice grower and the USA Rice chairman of the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership.  “It’s important that as many rice farmers sign-up and submit applications as possible this year to make sure they get a chance to participate.”

California rice grower and the Ducks Unlimited chairman of the partnership, Al Montna, echoed his enthusiasm for the project.

“We cannot stress enough the close relationship between waterfowl and the rice industry and how much they need each other,” he said.  “What’s good for rice is good for ducks, and vice versa, and the RCPP is a natural fit for our vital conservation efforts.  We look forward to continuing this strong, successful partnership beyond this first project.”

Next week’s implementation will begin with sign-ups opening for EQIP applications for ricelands in Arkansas and Mississippi. Applications will be due to local NRCS offices in qualifying counties by October 16, 2015 to be ranked and awarded funding.

“This is a two-year project, but funding is limited and we want to ensure farmers have enough time to install the necessary EQIP practices,” said Durand.

The other four states covered by the partnership: California, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, will begin their EQIP sign-ups later this fall. Sign-up for CSP is set to begin in each of the six rice states late in 2016.