Conservation and Sustainability - Beyond the Buzz

Deep Sea Divers standing on a dock
Not that kind of deep dive
Nov 16, 2016
ARLINGTON, VA -- Marketers and trend watchers constantly tell us that today's customers are demanding more information about what they are eating and also how their food is being produced, and they use buzzwords like conservation and sustainability to push this agenda.  At next month's USA Rice Outlook Conference in Memphis, attendees will be able to take a deep dive into this conversation with a two-part panel that will examine both practical, on-farm conservation practices and in-market sustainability trends.  No matter where in the rice supply chain attendees are, they will not want to miss this valuable session that immediately follows the Annual Rice Awards Luncheon.
The sessions will be moderated by USDA’S Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Jason Weller, whose leadership and vision of partner-driven conservation on private working lands has enabled the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership program to flourish.  Part one is all about water conservation.  Expert panelists, including Dr. Michele Reba, research hydrologist, and Dr. Joe Massey, research agronomist, both with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Trey Cooke, executive director of Delta F.A.R.M.; and Michael Sullivan, NRCS State Conservationist for Arkansas, tackle important topics such as field design and resulting water quantity, irrigation methods, and existing technology all designed to help the rice farmer use water as efficiently as possible.  They'll also talk about programs that offer farmers assistance for making land and technology improvements.

Part two is a discussion on sustainability.  It means different things to different people, but no matter what it means to you, if you are in the rice business, you won't want to miss this session.  Panelists Mary Grady, director of business development with Winrock International's American Carbon Registry; Amy Braun, sustainability director with Kellogg Company; Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market; and Jennifer James, Arkansas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee will talk about the United Nations Paris Agreement and its impact on the average U.S. rice farmer.  The panel also will cover sustainable food sourcing, Field to Market's Field Print Calculator that seeks to quantify the environmental benefits of rice farming, and the USA Rice Sustainability Plan, and what this industry-wide, multi-sector plan means for your company or operation.
It's not too late to get in on the conversation, although the original hotel block at the Sheraton is sold out.  Rooms are available at the Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown Hotel across the street and you can make a reservation by calling 1-866-310-1173 and asking for the special USA Rice rate of $140.  If you have any questions or issues, contact Jeanette Davis at or 703-236-1447.
The USA Rice Outlook Conference is the largest conference in North America dedicated specifically to rice.  This year's conference will be held in Memphis, December 7-9.


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