|USA Rice Federation and Ducks Unlimited Host Congressional Luncheon|
WASHINGTON — USA Rice Federation and Ducks Unlimited (DU) Tuesday hosted their first joint congressional luncheon for lawmakers and their staff members. The event helped raise awareness of the importance of flooded rice fields to the nation’s wintering and migrating waterfowl. Rice fields provide 30 to 60 percent of the food resources available to wintering dabbling ducks along the Gulf Coast and in the Central Valley of California, according to Ducks Unlimited.
Attendees enjoyed a variety of U.S. rice and duck dishes, viewed videos about U.S. rice production and the habitat benefit provided to birds by flooded rice fields, and received literature about the economic and environmental benefits of U.S. rice production.
Following the rice harvest in the fall, thousands of acres of rice fields are flooded, creating habitat for water birds and providing an excellent food source during winter months. Rice provides this habitat to sustain the birds that DU is dedicated to protecting.
DU is the recipient of USA Rice’s 2011 Distinguished Conservation Award, which recognizes the organization’s exemplary leadership and other major contributions to conservation that significantly benefit natural resources, wildlife and American communities.
“No other agricultural group does as much for wetlands and waterfowl conservation as America’s rice growers,” said Dan Wrinn, Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited. “Every year rice producers provide critical migratory and wintering habitat for millions of ducks and geese and other migratory birds across the country.”
“DU’s conservation, restoration and management of wetlands and other habitats for North America’s waterfowl is vital,” USA Rice Producers’ Group Conservation Committee Chairman Leo LaGrande said. “This event provides a great opportunity to inform others about the special relationship between rice farmers and DU and our shared commitment to water birds.”
Photo caption: DU and USA Rice representatives at Tuesday’s luncheon. Pictured from left to right are Bob Berg, DU; USA Rice Federation Chairman Jackie Loewer, USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman Linda Raun; Becky Humphries, DU; Arkansas Rice Producers’ Group Chairman Dow Brantley; California Rice Farmer Al Montna; Paul Bonderson, senior VP, DU; and Mikk Anderson, DU.
—30—The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses.