The U.S. Rice Story
The U.S. rice industry’s commitment to sustainability dates back generations, long before the word “sustainability” became a popular term. And today, the rice community continues to make strides towards a more sustainable future.
All segments of the U.S. rice industry are invested in sustainable production and processing practices because it's personal – providing for their families, serving their communities, protecting wildlife habitats, and creating jobs. Their stewardship is deliberate, ensuring a healthy, safe food supply, while improving the environment, and contributing to the local economy.
A History of Resource Stewardship
Over a 36-year period, improved sustainability practices led to increased production and crop yields while also yielding some of the greatest environmental benefits. For more information, view the industry’s Sustainability Report and 2030 Sustainability Goals which show how the rice community continues to make strides towards a more sustainable future.
U.S. Rice Fields Provide Essential Wildlife Habitat
Many wildlife species rely on the wetland habitat created by American rice farmers. Working rice lands across all rice producing states provide millions of acres of life-sustaining resources for migrating waterbirds along with countless other animals that call the fields their home. This makes rice a unique working-lands crop.
Winter-flooded rice fields improve and enhance vital wildlife habitats by providing food and foraging for migratory and wintering fowl. These fowl return the favor by helping to increase soil nutrients, straw decomposition, reducing weed and insect
pressure, and providing other important agronomic advantages.
In the regions where rice is grown in the U.S., rice agriculture provides 35 percent of the food resources available to migrating and wintering waterfowl. The cost of replacing existing rice habitat with managed natural wetlands is more than $3.5 billion.
"Rice farmers and millers must comply with thousands of pages of federal and state regulations that are strictly enforced. This, paired with the industry’s commitment to conservation, makes U.S.-grown rice the most sustainably produced in the world."
Betsy Ward, President and CEO, USA Rice