Rice farmers who want to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for a special Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) sign up.

Led by the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership, the Gulf Coast Water and Wetlands Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the RCPP provide an opportunity to enhance conservation on rice lands in 12 Texas counties.

Applications for RCPP-CSP are accepted on a continuous basis, but to be considered for this funding period, applications must be received by June 28.

The special signups assists landowners and rice farmers who voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that aim to provide waterfowl habitat on rice production lands. Nutrient management and integrated pest management (IPM) to address water quality concerns are also a priority. Although enhancements are limited, irrigation efficiencies are also a focus.

“NRCS is pleased to partner with USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited and others in these RCPP efforts,” State Conservationist Salvador Salinas said. “RCPP-CSP provides an opportunity for rice producers to build their businesses while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their operations and improve the environment for Texas’ citizens.”

These special RCPP-CSP signups are targeted for rice production acreage in Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Jackson, Jefferson, Lavaca, Liberty, Matagorda, Waller and Wharton counties. These projects will provide a special CSP allotment of about 110,000 acres in 2019 to Texas rice growers, 80,000 acres under Gulf Coast Water and Wildlife RCPP and 30,000 acres under the LCRA RCPP, respectively.

“NRCS has updated the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources,” Rice Stewardship Coordinator Kyle Soileau said. “Partnership staff can help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.”

For additional information on CSP or other conservation planning, technical and financial assistance, contact your local USDA service center or visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.