News Archive
May 2024

Riceland Foods’ sustainable rice program pays farmers millions for sustainably grown rice

Through partnerships with CPG companies, Riceland farmer-members receive payment for environmental assets generated through sustainable rice production

STUTTGART – Riceland Foods distributed over $4 million to its farmer-members enrolled in the 2023 Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program. Over the 2023 growing season and with the assistance of Arva Intelligence, Riceland farmer-members enrolled in the program tracked key data points, such as tillage method, irrigation, and nutrient management, to showcase how climate-smart practices impact sustainable metrics.

Riceland President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin McGilton expressed his excitement for the program’s 2023 results and what it means for the cooperative’s membership.

“Over a decade of learning and planning went into positioning the cooperative with the right people and partners to build Riceland’s Carbon Ready™ Program. Thanks to the innovative data captured through the Riceland-Arva Intelligence partnership, our farmer-members are not only utilizing sustainable practices but are also rewarded for them,” McGilton said. “Through this program, sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a driver of innovation in agriculture, creating new opportunities and a brighter future for Riceland members and customers.”

Here are the major takeaways from the 2023 Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program.

  • Over 138,000 tons of CO2 emissions reductions
  • 24.1 billion gallons of water saved through irrigation management practices like Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), Multi-inlet Rice Irrigation (MIRI), furrow irrigated rice, and zero-grade precision leveling
  • 69,000 acres of rice fields utilized as waterfowl habitat in the off-season

Riceland Vice President of Government Affairs and Sustainability Adam Shea said the success of the program comes from centering on the farmers who implement and maintain climate-smart practices.

“Riceland farmer-members are the backbone of this program’s success,” Shea said. “Our partnership with Arva Intelligence enables us to trace the various data points to show how our members use less water and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the farm. Partnering with our CPG and retail customers allows us an avenue to support them in their efforts to achieve their climate goals while creating sustainable changes throughout the supply chain.”

Funding for the 2023 Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program was provided from six companies in the consumer-packaged goods and retail space that purchase rice from the cooperative. The investment in the Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program allows our CPG and retail partners to make Scope 3 GHG emission reduction claims as part of their overall sustainability goals.

The Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program launched in 2022 with Arva Intelligence as Riceland’s data and analytics partner. The Arva Intelligence team has prioritized Riceland’s farmer-members the ability to own their own data.

“We understand from first-hand experience that what farmers create is their own, and they deserve to know their data is protected and respected,” Arva’s Director of Communications John McEntire said. “After all, we are Riceland members ourselves just ten miles outside of Stuttgart, and we share Riceland’s mission of serving their growers and our neighbors. Partnerships like Carbon Ready™ are so important because we all can go so much further together — from creating environmental impact, driving value to the farm, and delivering sustainability solutions to the supply chain.”

In 2020, the cooperative and its farmer-members set an ambitious goal to reduce water usage in rice production by 250 billion gallons by 2025. While the Riceland Carbon Ready™ Program has added value to farmer-members involved, it has also improved the data collection process for tracking progress towards goals such as this one. For World Water Day 2024, the cooperative shared it is about 80 percent complete with a total water savings to date of over 200 billion gallons.

“As we plan for the future, our goal is to create more value for our farmer-members through sustainable programs like Riceland Carbon Ready™,” Shea said. “The sustainability space is evolving quickly, and our cooperative needs to adapt with the changes. Our team is focused on growing the program and seeking out additional opportunities for climate-smart practices to be showcased on the farm and throughout the supply chain.” QR Code

Published Date: April 22, 2024

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