Sustainable Agriculture Summit Serves Up Challenges and Opportunities

Jennifer-& Dylan-James-walk along retention pond on their AR rice farm
Sustainability for the next generation
Nov 18, 2016
ATLANTA, GA – The annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit held here this week, in combination with Field to Market’s fall meetings brought together more than 500 attendees from across the U.S. agricultural supply chain.  Participants ranged from farmers, to input manufacturers and suppliers, to processors and retailers.  The livestock, row crop, and specialty crop sectors were all represented among the Summit’s various panels and breakout sessions where talk of partnerships, success stories, innovations, and new research studies contributed to the excitement that ran throughout the conference.

USA Rice members and partners ADM, BASF, Bunge, California Rice Commission, Ducks Unlimited, Dow AgroSciences, John Deere, Kellogg, Mars, PepsiCo, Riceland Foods, RiceTec, Syngenta, Mosaic, and Unilever all participated in the two-day event.

Arkansas rice farmer and USA Rice Sustainability Committee Chair Jennifer James, who also serves as USA Rice’s Field to Market voting member, left the Summit feeling confident about the rice industry’s sustainability work.  James said, “Based on the work the Sustainability Committee has lined up for 2017, we could return to this Summit next year and bring rice into the spotlight as a real power player in the ag industry.  We’re really ramping up our representation in this arena and folks are starting to notice.  Since this meeting last fall, rice has tripled its representation and we’re going to continue to grow as the Sustainability Committee works through our Sustainability Plan.”

James added, “One thing I’ve learned through our work with other agriculture commodities is that we still have a ways to go as we focus on continuous improvement within the industry.  Results from our recent sustainability survey showed that most of us want to learn more about sustainability because we realize that it’s not going away anytime soon.  The concept of farmers being stewards of their land is no longer a fad, it’s now an expectation when we take our crop to market, and we have to embrace that.”

The 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference in Memphis next month will focus on the rice industry’s involvement and success in the evolving conservation and sustainability arena with a series of panels, dialogues, and updates on the USA Rice Sustainability Plan.

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