Regional Farm News

New Conservation Stewardship Program sign-up available for rice producers in Arkansas

Rice producers wanting 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 Sustaining the Future of Rice Regional
Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) provides an opportunity to enhance conservation on
ricelands in 30 counties.

“With the support of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, this RCPP project aims
to assist landowners and rice producers that voluntarily implement conservation and
management practices to improve irrigation water management, control sediment and nutrient
runoff, and provide waterfowl habitat on rice production lands,” said DU Director of
Conservation Innovation Dr. Scott Manley.

Through their conservation programs, the NRCS helps private landowners build their business
while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their operation
and improve the environment of our nation’s citizens.

“The overall CSP offers agricultural producers and forest landowners payments for actively
managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-
based pest management, irrigation water management, and pollinator and beneficial insect
habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land,” said Arkansas NRCS
State Conservationist Mike Sullivan. “CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge
technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site
carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to
improve water quality.”

This special CSP sign-up is targeted for rice production acreage in Randolph, Clay, Lawrence,
Greene, Independence, Craighead, Mississippi, Jackson, Poinsett, Cross, Crittenden, Woodruff,
White, Faulkner, Conway, Pope, Saint Francis, Lee, Monroe, Prairie, Lonoke, Pulaski, Phillips,
Arkansas, Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Ashley, and Chicot.

Applications must be received by 2 March 2018 to be considered for this funding period.
An approximate 25,000 acres are available for rice/rice rotation CSP conservation contracts.
“NRCS has updated the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and
the benefits to their operations and natural resources,” said USA Rice Director of Grower
Relations and Rice Stewardship Partnership Josh Hankins. “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.”



Those interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit For maps and more information on the RCPP project areas, visit
the Arkansas NRCS web site at

Terry Simmons