Arkansas Rice Farm Tests the Waters

People riding observation trucks through rice research fields
USA Rice staffers Josh Hankins (left) and Frank Leach go deep on water conservation
Aug 10, 2017
OSCEOLA, AR -- On Tuesday, USA Rice staff participated in the Mississippi County Water Management Field Day here.  Hosted by Mike Sullivan, a rice farmer from Burdette, Arkansas, the event was an opportunity to spotlight the innovative approach Sullivan has employed to facilitate water conservation on his farm.

In consultation with USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Sullivan’s tour included four neighboring fields with different approaches to irrigation:  traditional cascade flood, Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation (MIRI), Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), and row rice.  The water used on each field has been recorded during the irrigation cycles, with noticeable differences in the amounts of water used.

“The key to this deal here is we are trying to find ways to be more efficient and conserve water because there are many counties in Arkansas that have groundwater challenges,” Sullivan said.

USA Rice, through the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership, has helped champion water conservation for rice farmers through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The RCPP secured funding for projects like the Mid-South Graduated Water Stewardship Program, which was awarded $7 million to be used for rice-specific projects in Arkansas, Central and Northeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri.

Josh Hankins, USA Rice Stewardship Partnership Coordinator, is based in Little Rock and led the development of the Mid-South Graduated Water Stewardship Program.  

“The USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership is excited to see our RCPP efforts making such a large impact on irrigation in Arkansas,” said Hankins.  “We are increasing the awareness of these techniques and technologies, and it's great to hear more people in the Mid-South include water management shop talk wherever they gather – in organized field days like this one or in the local coffee shop.” 

Sign-Up for the Daily

Recent Articles

  • National Rice Month Campaign Succeeds in Every Sector

    Nov 15, 2018

    The results are in and USA Rice’s combination of promotional activities aimed at the retail, consumer, and foodservice segments to celebrate September as National Rice Month (NRM) went a long way to increasing awareness and consumption of U.S.-grown rice. Full story
  • Trade Mission to Mexico Strengthens Bonds

    Nov 14, 2018

    A USA Rice member delegation traveled to Mexico last week to meet with key customers in the rice industry's largest export market. Over the span of three days, the delegation met with influential players in the trade, gaining valuable insight from some of the largest millers, wholesalers, and distributors of rice in Mexico. Full story
  • Rice Issues Abound in South Korea

    Nov 13, 2018

    Last week’s Agricultural Trade Mission (ATM) to Korea gave USA Rice the opportunity to highlight strong market opportunities for U.S. rice but also to underscore continued obstacles put in our way by Korea’s government. Full story
  • Rice Matters at FDA Discussion

    Nov 09, 2018

    Last week the Mississippi Farm Bureau hosted Dr. Stephen Ostroff, deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for an agricultural roundtable to discuss a range of recent FDA regulations. Full story
  • South Africa Trade Mission Taps New Markets

    Nov 08, 2018

    Last week USA Rice participated in a Trade Mission here led by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and organized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Full story